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Cam Newton: ‘I haven’t peaked, I haven’t climaxed as a player’

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Cam Newton spoke to reporters for the first time at the Carolina Panthers practice facility since the days following the team’s loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. And the quarterback made it clear neither he nor the team are satisfied in the disappointing way their magical season ended with an abrupt thud back in February.

In fact, Newton said as the team wrapped up its offseason workouts Thursday that the Panthers will be “playing with a chip on our shoulders” next season, albeit while not looking too far ahead.

“We’re not worried about the Super Bowl,” Newton said, via ESPN’s David Newton. “We’re focusing in on trying to maximizing our June to July, into August and the list goes on. The Super Bowl is in 2017. We still have a lot to do in 2016.”

Newton also fielded questions about his surly demeanor in his post-Super Bowl 50 presser, something he’s been forced to address on several occasions during the offseason.

Newton, fresh off an MVP campaign where he completed nearly 60 percent of his passes, threw for 3,837 yards while posting 35 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions. Throw in his 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns scored on the ground and Newton easily enjoyed the finest season of his NFL career.

But Newton insists last season won’t serve as the high-water mark of his time in the league.

“I haven’t peaked, I haven’t climaxed as a player,” he said. “That’s what I need to get better at. I always can find ways to take my game to the next level and just getting everybody on the same page.

“As one of the captains on this team, I take that very pridefully, knowing that there’s a lot of people looking at me … to lead this team.”

Newton of course has grown accustomed to being the center of attention on the Panthers roster — which of course can be a good and a bad thing — and he will continue to be not only the most recognizable players on the team, but the NFL as well. And it certainly appears he’s not ready for his time in the spotlight to come to an unceremonious end.