Ron Rivera: Cam Newton 'Ready to Bust Out' with Patriots

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Washington head coach Ron Rivera believes Cam Newton is poised to thrive with the Patriots. 

Rivera, who coached Newton for nine seasons in Carolina before he was fired last December, says he believes the quarterback seems fully healthy based on workout footage. 

"He's headed in the right direction," Rivera said on the McNeil & Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Monday. "I mean, he's probably about as healthy as it gets from what I've seen on video. I think he's ready to bust out.

"I would never bet against the young man, that's for sure."

ESPN reported Sunday that Newton signed a one-year contract with the Patriots, who were looking for a new quarterback after Tom Brady departed for the Buccaneers in free agency.

The Panthers released Newton in March. The quarterback had one year remaining on the $100 million contract extension he signed in 2015. 

Newton's throwing shoulder has been operated on twice, and he played in only two games last season due to a Lisfranc sprain in his foot. The previous season, he started 14 games, completing 68% of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Carolina selected Newton with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. During his Panthers tenure, Newton captured Rookie of the Year honors, three Pro Bowl selections and the league MVP award in 2015. His 29,041 career passing yards are the most in franchise history.

"Don't bet against him," Rivera said. "I really wouldn't. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he's gone through. He's a guy that's always tried to do things, I think, because he's felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of being a black quarterback, with all the stuff that's been heaped on him.

"He's really had to find his way through it, and he's done a great job with it."