Sportress of Blogitude

Cam Newton on taking hits: I’m a football player, not a ballerina or gymnast


Cam Newton downplayed the notion that he takes too much abuse due to his penchant for running with the football by pointing out that he is in fact a football player and that absorbing contact comes with the territory, regardless of whether or not a player lines up at the quarterback position.

“Sacks, touches, hits, I’m fine,” he told ESPN’s David Newton. “I’m walking tall. This is a football game and it’s supposed to be played as such. I’m not in the sport of ballerina, gymnastics. This is a physical sport. I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to play this game.”

What’s more, Newton insists he’s doing the best he can to avoid vicious hits and even is the one often dishing out the punishment.

“I’m always getting questioned on how I run,” Newton said. “I never, up to this point, got that wild shot like I see other players take. One of those hits where you’re like, ‘Gollee, he just got killed.’

“I’m always the one either delivering the blow or sliding away from the hit.”

Newton is the very definition of a running quarterback. The Panthers signal-caller’s ability to turn nothing into something by using his feet to escape the pocket and generate positive yardage is what makes him one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL.

But having the most important player on a football team taking what many suggest are unnecessary hits — given Newton’s position — is not without risks. As noted in the report, Newton has taken 587 hits while passing rushing since 2011 — a whopping 270 times more than any other quarterback — giving rise to concerns that he is experiencing far more punishment than needed.

The assumed risk inherent whenever Newton tucks the football and runs has netted him 2,571 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns, also more than any other quarterback in the NFL over the past four seasons. It’s hard to argue with that productivity, even if it causes everyone in the Panthers organization to hold their collective breath from time to time.