Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule didn’t exactly rule out being open to Cam Newton returning for the 2020 season, the final year on the quarterback’s contract with the team.
Rhule was introduced as the Panthers coach Wednesday and was first asked about his position on Newton.
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“I probably haven’t had a chance with regards to really any player to get to talk to Marty [Hurney] and Mr. Tepper in terms of long-term vision, so I would never want to speak out of school or uneducatedly,” Rhule said, according to NFL.com. “What I will say is this: I had a chance to talk to Cam yesterday, and I have the utmost respect for him and what he’s done, and I love the way he talked to me, to be quite honest. He didn’t want to talk about the past. He wanted to talk about the future. But other than that, I would much rather talk to those guys and kind of get a feel for not just Cam but all those players on the roster and really have a good process moving forward for the entire roster.”
Rhule later appeared on the NFL Network and talked more about the team’s quarterback situation.
Carolina Panthers NFL football team new head coach Matt Rhule talks to the media during a news conference at the teams practice facility, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
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“At the end of the day I know this: I know you need to win with a quarterback,” he said. “And I know Cam’s done a lot of winning and so I look forward to working with him but at the same time I’ll talk to our ownership and GM and kind of really establish all the guys in the locker room — him, Kyle Allen and Will Grier as well.”
Newton’s 2020 status has been in question since he got injured toward the beginning of the 2019 season. Kyle Allen and Will Grier stepped into his spot, but Carolina finished 5-11 and last in the NFC South.
Newton has said he hopes to stay in Charlotte.
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“Charlotte is home. Charlotte is a place I know people know me. They’re not just assuming. They know how I am. They know my energy. They know what I like and what I don’t like. For me to have that type of presence, it just reminds me that … it’s right,” he said in November.
“We’re looking forward to countless more years in Charlotte to impact the community in ways outside of the game of football.”
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Newton, who signed a five-year, $103.8 million contract in 2015, is owed $18.6 million in 2020. He will become an unrestricted free agent prior to the start of the 2021 season.