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June 09, 2011

Five things learned at Panthers' workout

The Panthers opened up the gates at Charlotte Christian this morning for the media to watch the first 30 minutes of the players' eighth and final informal workout.

Five things we learned:

1) Cam Newton means business.

The No. 1 overall pick was at the White House on Wednesday with his former Auburn teammates as President Obama honored last season's national champions. Newton was back in Charlotte in time for today's 8 a.m. session.

His teammates noticed.

OT Jordan Gross thought it was cool that Newton joined the offensive linemen in flipping tires during one conditioning drill. Heck, Newton's arms are as big as some of the linemen's.

TE Jeremy Shockey said it was obvious Newton had been poring over the Panthers' playbook at the IMG Academy, where Newton has been working out with former NFL QBs Chris Weinke and Ken Dorsey.

For a guy ripped before the draft by some analysts for being a selfish player, Newton seems to have set the right tone with his new teammates.

2) Gross' attendance numbers were not inflated.

Gross said more than 50 players showed up last week for the first workout. There were at least 40 there today, including several free agents who aren't sure whether they'll be back with the Panthers after the lockout (Moore, TE Dante Rosario, LB Thomas Davis).

Other potential free agents -- RB DeAngelo Williams, DE Charles Johnson, CB Richard Marshall -- were not spotted during the time the media was allowed to watch.

3) Steve Smith remains a mystery.

That was not learned for the first time today, but it was reinforced when Newton said Smith had been at Charlotte Christian earlier this week (Smith was not there today). On Monday night Smith indicated he had not yet attended the workouts.

Smith has cleaned out his belongings from Bank of America Stadium and indicated he wants to be traded. And he still likely will be moved after the lockout.

But his recent praise of Newton and first-year coach Ron Rivera -- and the fact that he was out catching passes from Newton this week -- suggest he might at least be considering staying put.

4) Newton is not the only player committed to working.

While sharing his thoughts on the labor situation, Panthers punter Jason Baker revealed an interesting nugget: A few players have taken part-time jobs during the lockout.

Baker, one of the team's NFLPA reps, would not reveal who the players were or what they're doing. But he said several players have had to cut out of the workouts early the past two weeks to go to their other jobs.

5) Newton makes the Panthers a more interesting team.

ESPN and the NFL Network both showed up for a 15-minute interview session before an informal workout in early June. They were not there to chronicle Dan Connor's recovery from hip surgery.

Newton, who was criticized for his "icon and entertainer" comment before the draft, was engaging this morning as he shared a story about his trip to the White House and his brief meeting with President Obama.

The national media outlets will quit showing up if the Panthers are 2-10 in December. But before he even signs a contract, Newton is this city's first major team sports star since the early Hornets' days.

--Joseph Person


Posted by Observer Sports on June 9, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Permalink


I have never actually seen a statement where #89 said specifically "I want to be traded.". Got a source or link for this statement?

Posted by: Apex_Assassin | Jun 9, 2011 12:37:40 PM

I can almost taste it.. this lock out shenanigan needs to hurry up and situate itself..

Posted by: CAPTAIN OBVIOUS | Jun 9, 2011 1:02:34 PM

you got everbody beleving this kid will be the next jamarcus russell, let them keep dreaming..this kid wants to be great and has that attitudeto be great as well..keep up the good work, mr. newton

Posted by: panthers world | Jun 9, 2011 1:29:08 PM

What fantazy world is Joe Blow Person on? Did he finish HS? Lay off the crack pipe too.

That trip to the WH will look stupid as hell when the Heisman is seized & Allburn is forced to give up the 2010 NCAA champ for cheating.

Posted by: scam city | Jun 9, 2011 2:39:12 PM

I do not know where people are getting this info but I remember watching an interview with Steve Smith on ESPN and he stated that he has not requested a trade and he is under contract till next year. He cleaned out his locker and things because of the end of the season and the pending lockout not because he did not want to be with the team. i wish people will stop plublishing this story about him demanding a trade.

Posted by: Animal187 | Jun 9, 2011 4:52:48 PM

I'm not sure that Smith will stick around for the rebuilding of the Panthers. He has been a great asset to this franchise, but maybe he should be traded.

Posted by: Jon L. | Jun 9, 2011 5:29:34 PM

They cant trade Smith. Nobody wants him

Posted by: vinnie | Jun 9, 2011 6:12:09 PM

scamass-city is dumber than a sack of hammers and a racist too! What a tool. Brush your teeth scammy, they look awful after you've had your mouth on limbaugh's butt.

Posted by: Ramblin' Jack Elliot | Jun 9, 2011 7:51:40 PM

@ Ramblin' Jack -

Spoken like a true left winger...no substance, no point - just play the race card, call names, and make a reference to Rush Limbaugh. You're three for three!

How's that hopey-changey thing working out for you?

Posted by: Panther Fan in GA | Jun 9, 2011 7:58:53 PM

Vinny are you stupid? There are a ton of teams that would love to have Steve Smith.

Posted by: Panther Fan | Jun 9, 2011 8:29:16 PM

Smith gonna bring the hammer down one way or the other and hopefully this year ! The TV stations need to anty up a few more billions and end this lockout! Mean while we will wait for there poor planning asses ! Or are they trying to get more attention? NBA is next. So stupid , draft there asses for combat !

Posted by: spanky | Jun 9, 2011 8:56:07 PM

I love the Hope and change thing! My only complaint is that we havent been able to change that much because the right wing nuts only know how to say NO! They have no alternatives so they just filibuster and say no!


Posted by: Leonard | Jun 9, 2011 9:21:14 PM

Bunch of stupid stuff said here. Starting with no one wanting Smith. San Diego is all but tampering at this point. They want Smith.

And you know I didn't want them to draft Cam. But he is ours now. So I am glad we are hearing good things and that he is working. I hope to have to say very soon I was wrong and the Panthers did the right thing.

Posted by: John | Jun 9, 2011 10:23:45 PM

Cam Newton is a worker, and he's talented. I don't know what else you want in a QB.

Anyone who quotes Sarah Palin is actually dumber than Sarah Palin, which I would have thought impossible. Every Republican making less than 100K a year is a joke. If you fall in that category you should look at what the policies you support will actually do to your family, including your parents, your grandparents, and your kids.

Anyway, I also want to say I like the soccer coverage Observer. I can't post to your normal website because you guys want my email address to sell to spammers, but, Fowlers's column was great today.

Posted by: sfinsf | Jun 9, 2011 11:17:46 PM

Panther Fan in GA, you are not one to talk...quoting the quintessential idiot Sarah Palin in your response. That you feel she is a good person to quote says what's wrong with you.

Posted by: PoppaDaddy | Jun 10, 2011 4:45:09 AM

The knowledge and writing skills in here are quite remarkable.

Posted by: Ernest J. Keebler | Jun 10, 2011 6:18:39 AM

I'm with Apex_Assassin - I've never seen the actual Steve Smith quote about being traded.

And congrats to Person for working in "President Obama" twice in the article. . . bet you guys are all giddy about the DNC coming to Charlotte, aren't you?

PoppaDaddy, you're the idiot -how's that "change" working out for you now? Love this economy and our national debt?

Posted by: ILikePike | Jun 10, 2011 7:24:38 AM

I sometimes wish the Observer would just turn off the comments section.

Posted by: Jimmy | Jun 10, 2011 8:46:03 AM

I'm pretty tired of the Charlotte Observer making up rumors about Steve Smith leaving the Panthers.

"But, but, Steve cleaned out his locker!"

In all fairness, it was his stuff and he just got LOCKED OUT OF THE BUILDING. If it was your stuff, just on principle, wouldn't you take it home too?

"But he yelled at his teammates and publicly embarrassed Jimmy Clausen!"

No, Jimmy Clausen embarrassed himself with his own play and after Steve Smith was used so sparingly during the season it seems to me like "maybe he should apologize to the offense" is just a statement of truth. I mean, really, Beason can get an apology but Smith can't? This is leadership politics 101.

"But but..."

But, but shut up. You're not even selling papers with this rumor. You have Steve Smith on record saying that he's looking to be in a position to win - and that he's not necessarily looking for a trade.

Then he goes out and says good things about Rivera and Newton and THEN he goes and catches passes with Newton.

Lemme explain how trades work. If you don't want to be with a team anymore (especially during a lockout) you stop saying nice things about them and stop hanging out with them. Steve is doing both. And that's before you include his "special" relationship he has with Jerry Richardson. Remember all the ink that was spilled in the early years about how Richardson was a father figure to Smith? Do you think that has changed?

Steve Smith is, and will remain, a Panther. Please, stop printing that he'll likely leave. It's absolute conjecture and without proof. When you constantly print that, you are CREATING A NARRATIVE not serving one. Stop making things up.


Posted by: Ben | Jun 10, 2011 11:00:24 AM

If anybody thinks this "team workout" is any more than a backyard throw around is ridiculous. The only reason the players were sweating is because it was hot. Cam can't hide when the season starts and will be a BUST!

Posted by: TWIGGY | Jun 10, 2011 11:16:51 AM

@Twiggy ,I agree this is like a pick-up football in the park ,everybody's just doin whatever ,yuckin it up ,no drills or actual plays by the staff ,and yeah Cam's going to struggle when the real season starts bet on it!

Posted by: QB | Jun 10, 2011 11:27:17 AM

This is like peewee football compared to camp Brees or Ryan ,you canthers are gonna suck ,Cam Newton's smile will be gone when Jimmy C beats him out + NO big rookie contract to keep him around when he BUST'S lol...see you peewee's in september loser's!

Posted by: seenthisb4 | Jun 10, 2011 11:31:20 AM

PoppaDaddy, you're the idiot -how's that "change" working out for you now? Love this economy and our national debt?

UMMM- You do realize that is was the republicans and Bush the Wuss that took a national surplus (thanks to Clinton) and turned it into the massive debt. That is a fact, and cannot be argued.

Sorry one person cannot fix 8 years of screw ups in 3 years.

Posted by: mike | Jun 10, 2011 1:48:47 PM

Good article Joe - about time we got some fresh press on our boys

Posted by: manu4t | Jun 10, 2011 4:48:08 PM


When Brees retires SOON!!!!!!!!!!! You are going to be back to your bag wearing days, PUNK!

....Then... they are going to move your a$$ to OKC. or LA, how bout that big DADDY!

Posted by: 10-4!! | Jun 10, 2011 10:56:27 PM

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