Panthers Newton encouraged after talk with Goodell

The quarterback had a good meeting with the commish

Bob Donnan—X02835
Oct 30

Cam Newton said he had a “great discussion” with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the Carolina Panthers quarterback’s safety concerns regarding the lack of late-hit and low-hit penalties this season.Newton was upset after Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell hit him below the knees on a pass play in the third quarter of the Panthers’ 30-20 win on Sunday.Campbell was not flagged for the hit but the league has since admitted that should have been a penalty.”I got my point across, he got his point across,” Newton said Wednesday of the phone call with Goodell. “We’ll see Sunday and moving forward.”We ended on good terms, started on good terms, as well.”Newton has been saying that he believes he is not getting the same protection as other quarterbacks when throwing.”In the pocket, that’s all I’m asking for,” said Newton, who missed a game last month after suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 2.Newton said he reached a “breaking point” after officials did not call a roughing the passer penalty on Campbell.”It’s really taking the fun out of the game for me honestly,” Newton said after the game. “Because at times I don’t even feel safe. And enough is enough. I plan on talking to Commissioner Goodell about this. But it’s not fun. And I don’t know what I have to do. I could have torn my ACL. That’s the breaking point.”NFL senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Tuesday on NFL Network that a flag should have been thrown for roughing the passer after Campbell hit Newton low in the pocket.”This is something we’ve heard before from other players,” Blandino said, “and we obviously don’t take player safety concerns lightly. And we review every play from every game with an eye for player safety, and we’ve done that all year.”Blandino said that the league will address with the officials the missed call in order to “make sure that all of our quarterbacks are protected the same way under the rules.”Carolina coach Ron Rivera spoke to Goodell on Monday, a league source told ESPN’s Ed Werder. Rivera said at his Monday news conference that he fully supports Newton’s complaints about not being fairly treated as a pocket passer.”It’s more about making sure he is getting the equal treatment and the protection he deserves as a quarterback in the pocket,” Rivera said. “I have reached out to the league and the league has responded. And most recently I have reached out to the commissioner and he has responded and we’ll continue to work through this and see how it goes.”Rivera described Newton’s conversation with the commissioner as positive.”The nice part was the commissioner was a willing listener,” Rivera told reporters Wednesday. “It was great and the nice thing is that (Newton) was able to say what needed to be said. At the end of the day, it’s not about getting special treatment, it’s about being treated the same across the board.”The Panthers travel to face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters Wednesday he disagreed that referees are not calling penalties for hits on the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton because of his size.Fisher said he “understands” how Newton can be frustrated after the Campbell hit.”There are hits — illegal hits — that are missed in every game on a quarterback,” Fisher said. “Across the league, it happens all the time. The league’s priority, from a safety standpoint, starts at the quarterback position … there’s going to be things that just aren’t called. At the same time, there are hits on quarterbacks that are legal that are called fouls. The league’s doing the best they can to protect them.”The Sports Xchange/Reuters contributed to this report.