CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said in a video blog released Friday that he was hiding just how much his left foot sprain was hurting prior to the season and that he won’t return to the field until it is 100% healed.
Newton, who appeared in the video smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of wine, confirmed he suffered a mild Lisfranc sprain in the third preseason game against the New England Patriots and aggravated it in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.
The Panthers have called the injury a midfoot sprain, which technically is a Lisfranc sprain.
Newton, who will miss his second consecutive game Sunday when the Panthers (1-2) visit the Houston Texans (2-1), did not put a timetable on his return.
“I’ve decided I will take time away from the game,” Newton, 30, said in his first public comments since reinjuring the foot. “This is me being the bigger person and being real with myself and saying, ‘Look, what’s the ultimate goal you’re trying to accomplish? Win the Super Bowl. OK, if you want to win the Super Bowl, this is the step you’ve got to take.’
“It could very well be a week. Or two weeks. It could be three weeks, it could be four weeks, it could be six weeks. But I have to understand and know if it takes that time I trust in this team that they will — we will — still be in a great situation by the time I get back.”
Newton admitted he probably should have stepped aside prior to the opener, a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, to give the injury longer to heal.
“This is when I got in my own way,” Newton said. “Because, automatically, I thought, ‘I’ve got to play Week 1. I can’t let my fans down. I’ve got to be there for my team.'”
Newton said he realized during his pregame ritual, a jog around the stadium, before the season opener that he couldn’t run.
The 2015 NFL MVP has rushed for more yards (4,806) than any quarterback since entering the league in 2011, and ranks third in NFL history behind Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham in rushing yards by a QB. But he rushed just three times for a career-low minus-2 yards against the Rams. And in Week 2, he had two carries for 0 yards against Tampa Bay, slipping and falling short on a fourth-and-1 carry.
“I was hiding an injury where I could have easily said, ‘You know what Coach, I don’t think I’m ready. Maybe I need to kind of consider sitting this one out for the betterment [of the team],'” Newton said.
The quarterback said Carolina coaches asked if he was all right prior to the game, and he said yes.
“With that Superman title, tag, I’m, ‘Nah, Coach, I’m good. Let me play,”’ said Newton, known for his “Superman” celebrations since leading Auburn to the 2010 national title.
But Newton realized during the opener and again against Tampa Bay that he couldn’t do normal things such as running and pushing off his plant foot confidently enough to make accurate throws.
He completed 49% of his passes in the Tampa Bay loss and was used as a decoy on a potential game-winning fourth-down play at the goal line, when running back Christian McCaffrey lined up in the Wildcat formation. McCaffrey was stopped on fourth-and-1 from the 2.
“Even if somebody is not close to you, you’re trying to guard your foot,” Newton said. “I don’t want nobody to touch it, I don’t want nobody to sack me. So all these things are going on in my head in actual play.
“For so long I played this game one way, I played this game the only way I know how to play. And at this particular time, that No. 1 that’s out there, that hasn’t been that same person.”
Allen threw four touchdown passes and led the Panthers to a 38-20 victory in Arizona.
Newton said he will do whatever he can to support Allen while rehabbing.
“This is the ultimate team sport,” Newton said. “And I want to be the best player for this team. And right now I cannot be the best player for this team if I have an injury that needs time for it to heal.”
Newton said it “rejuvenated” him that he felt no pressure from coach Ron Rivera or general manager Marty Hurney to try to play through the injury when the decision came to shut him down.
“It takes the Superman out of it,” Newton said. “I really didn’t want that mantra to be there. You feel like you’re immortal. You feel you can’t do no wrong. You feel like you’re this big, bad guy, but truth be told, I’m human. Through this whole time, I’m realizing this.”
Newton said if he played now it wouldn’t be the “Cam Newton everyone is accustomed to seeing.”
“I refuse for that to happen,” he added. “I’ve been doing that for two games. It’s hard for me to watch film, it’s hard for me to go about my everyday life knowing I’m being held back by an ailment knowing that all I have to do is be right by [it].
“It’s hard to come to grips with that decision or having those options, but at the end of the day, I’ve got to get right. I’ve got to get right.”