Cam Newton landed in New England with an important endorsement.
Veteran coach Norv Turner, who served as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator the last two seasons, reportedly offered a strong recommendation for Newton to Bill Belichick when the Patriots coach called him earlier this offseason.
“My whole deal is, when Cam was healthy, and we were there with him [in 2018], we were 6–2,” Turner told Sports Illustrated on Sunday night after Newton agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots. “Just look at the tape — played his ass off. His issue was more health than anything else, and from what I understand, I don’t think these are health issues that he can’t overcome. He’s had the time off now. I think he’ll be great.”
Turner was not in Carolina for Newton’s prime and only had him for two games last year because of a foot injury that ultimately required surgery. But the 31-year-old played 14 games in Turner’s offense in 2018 — the first eight before injuring his shoulder — which showed the former Redskins, Raiders and Chargers head coach enough to believe Newton still has something left to give the Patriots.
In those first eight games of 2018, Newton completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 1,893 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions while running for 342 yards and four touchdowns. Over the final six games, as his shoulder hampered him, Newton completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,502 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions to go with 146 rushing yards.
Now, it’s up to Newton to prove he’s healthy again to have a shot at replacing Tom Brady.
“I think it’ll be really good for Cam,” Turner said. “And I think it’ll be good for the Patriots.”