Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton admitted during a news conference that he has been playing hurt for the majority of the season, but says that he isn’t going to use injuries as an excuse as to why the team is playing poorly.
Carolina has lost four games in a row and is 1-6-1 in its last eight games. Despite the losing streak, the Panthers are in second place in the NFC South behind the New Orleans Saints.
“Yeah, I’m hurt. Hurt is hurt. If you're asking me am I hurt right now? Yeah, I'm hurt," Newton said. "I haven't felt 100 percent in a long time. But is that ... my excuse why we're on a losing streak? No, absolutely not. You ask me a question: Is Cam Newton hurt? Yes, I'm hurt. And that's all honesty. But can I play, yes I can play and I will be playing."
Newton is dealing with a right foot injury in addition to his surgically-repaired ankle. He also dealt with a rib injury earlier this season.
“Everybody wants to ask questions about why are the Panthers struggling on offense and the first person you are going to look at is the quarterback -- and I understand that,” Newton said. “I will be the first person to admit I haven't been playing great and I know that. I will take that responsibility and tell you that things will be better in the future.”
Earlier this week, Panthers coach Ron Rivera denied that Newton is injured.
"I'm not sure where all that came from, but he's not injured," Rivera said.
Carolina’s offense is No. 25 in the league in yards, and Newton has been sacked 30 times this season (second-most in the NFL). He has completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He also has 263 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers (3-6-1) take on the Atlanta Falcons (3-6) on Sunday.
- Scooby Axson