Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule refused to comment on Cam Newton’s future with the club, saying it is too early to decide on the team’s quarterback situation.
Rhule was introduced as the Panthers’ new coach Wednesday after Ron Rivera’s sacking in December, and attention quickly turned to Newton.
Newton endured another injury-marred season, with the 2015 NFL MVP making just two appearances due to a foot problem as the Panthers finished 5-11.
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There are doubts about the 30-year-old Newton — who can become a free agent in 2021 — but Rhule said he needs time to study the Panthers’ roster.
“I probably haven’t had a chance with regards to really any player to get to talk to [Panthers general manager] Marty [Hurney] and [team owner David] Tepper in terms of long-term vision, so I would never want to speak out of school or uneducatedly,” said first-time NFL coach Rhule, who arrived from Baylor.
“What I will say is this: I had a chance to talk to Cam [on Tuesday], and I have the utmost respect for him and what he’s done, and I love the way he talked to me, to be quite honest. He didn’t want to talk about the past. He wanted to talk about the future.
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“But other than that, I would much rather talk to those guys and kind of get a feel for not just Cam but all those players on the roster and really have a good process moving forward for the entire roster.”
Rhule added to NFL Network: “At the end of the day I know this: I know you need to win with a quarterback. And I know Cam’s done a lot of winning and so I look forward to working with him, but at the same time I’ll talk to our ownership and GM and kind of really establish all the guys in the locker room — him [and backups] Kyle Allen and Will Grier as well.”