Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wanted to play "in the worst way" in the team's season opener, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said after the game Sunday. So much so, in fact, that he tried to talk Rivera into starting him.
"Believe me, he wanted to play in the worst way," Rivera said Sunday, according to ESPN.com.
Rivera ultimately decided not to play Newton, who suffered a hairline rib fracture in Carolina's Aug. 22 preseason game, in order to give his fracture at least another week to heal. Backup quarterback Derek Anderson ended up winning his first game in four years, as the Panthers beat the Buccaneers, 20-14. But ESPN.com's David Newton reported that Rivera said Newton will likely start in Week 2 against Detroit.
Ultimately, not even being in street clothes could keep Newton away from the field on Sunday. He jogged onto the field during a timeout and addressed his team in the huddle, something that is a violation of league rules.