Cam Newton's future with the Carolina Panthers has since the quarterback's 2019 season ended prematurely with an injury, but if you ask Newton himself, there's no doubt he'll be in a Panthers uniform come September.
In fact, when Newton was asked about whether he'll return to Carolina for a 10th season, the 30-year-old signal-caller said almost exactly that in a conversation with "Tiki and Tierney" on CBS Sports Network.
"Absolutely," Newton said Friday in Miami, home of Super Bowl LIV. "Absolutely."
Asked if he's touched base with the Panthers' new staff in the wake of Ron Rivera's December dismissal, Newton gave an affirmative and had nothing but positive remarks about the team's leadership -- and his partnership with them.
"It's devastating to not have the coach who drafted you," he said, "but at the same time, you've got to turn the page. I had an unbelievable conversation with Marty Hurney, the GM, David Tepper the owner, as well as Coach (Matt) Rhule, the new head coach. And I left that meeting inspired. And I told them, 'You won't find another person in that locker room with more to prove, not only to you, but I've got to prove to myself.'"
This isn't the first time the former NFL MVP has hinted his heart remains in Carolina. , Newton said in December that "in order for me to leave, (they) got to get rid of me."
Ultimately, though, it'll be up to Rhule, Hurney and the Panthers to decide on Newton's future. The former No. 1 overall draft pick carries a reasonable $21.1 million cap hit into the 2020 season, the last year on his five-year, $103 million extension inked in 2015, the same year he scored 45 touchdowns and led Carolina to the Super Bowl. Since that season, however, Newton has not made the Pro Bowl, he's just once posted a passer rating above 80, and failed to finish both the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. He missed the final two games of '18 after undergoing shoulder surgery, then sat out all but one game this year due to a Lisfranc fracture.