If it seems to you as if Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have been on the verge of a split for months, it’s because they have.
What’s happening with Cam and the Panthers now reminds me of a bit of dialogue that Ernest Hemingway used in “The Sun Also Rises,” after one character asks another how he happened to go bankrupt.
“Two ways,” the guy said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
That’s the way this split is going to go down — gradually and then suddenly.
The idea of Newton not quarterbacking the Panthers in 2020 has been slowly seeping into everyone’s heads for months. It sounded almost traitorous at first; then possible; and now is seen by many as a fait accompli.
That’s especially true after the most loyal of all Cam loyalists, former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, was fired in early December. Then new coach Matt Rhule was given the keys in January to the Panthers’ on-field kingdom, with a seven-year, $62-million contract and instructions to do whatever he liked.
Since then, Rhule and Panthers owner David Tepper have had plenty of opportunity to declare Newton as their quarterback — even with an “if he’s healthy” caveat — for 2020.
And each time, when asked, they have contorted themselves like pretzels to make sure not to make any sort of commitment, while also trying very hard not to say anything controversial.
Most recently, Tepper on Tuesday was asked by reporters about Newton and spouted a familiar refrain.
Said Tepper: “It’s a question of how healthy his foot and he is otherwise. And that’s still the number No. 1 overwhelming thing — to see how healthy he is and how we can figure out when he’s healthy or not. And everything comes from that.”
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SOURCE: The Charlotte Observer, Scott Fowler