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Panthers Robbie Anderson: Cam Newton could be in NFL camp


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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finds reason to smile as he talks back and forth with Tampa Bay fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fl. on Sunday, January 9, 2022. The Panthers lost 41-17 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers receiver Robbie Anderson has played with several different starting quarterbacks during his six-year career.

Most of his receptions have come from Sam Darnold, who played two years with Anderson in New York before the duo reunited in Carolina last season. But the quarterback who has been the most influential to Anderson? Cam Newton.

Though he spent the least amount of time with Newton compared to Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater (with whom he had a career year), Anderson said he considers the Panthers legend a brother.

“I had talked to bro a minute ago, just tapped in with him” Anderson said. “I don’t consider (Cam) a friend, I consider bro family.”

Anderson caught fewer than 20 of his 53 receptions from Newton last year. Carolina won their first game with Newton back, but went 0-5 in games he started. Newton’s return did not produce on-field victories, but during a recent podcast titled I AM ATHLETE, Anderson said the Panthers legend instilled a sense of belief, confidence and swagger that he is trying to carry into this season.

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson catches a pass from quarterback Cam Newton during fourth quarter action against the Washington football team during fourth quarter action at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Newton, meanwhile, is not on an NFL roster. The Panthers drafted Matt Corral and traded for Baker Mayfield this offseason. Clearly, Newton is not a part of the Panthers’ plans. But Anderson thinks Newton can still play professional football.

“I think if he wanted to (be in a camp) he could,” Anderson said. “He probably just wants to make sure he chooses the right situation for himself.”

Newton agrees. In June, Newton acknowledged he overestimated himself when he returned to Carolina.

Newton said on The Pivot podcast, which is hosted by former NFL players Ryan Clark, Fred Taylor and Channing Crowder, that he was taking full responsibility for putting himself in messed-up situations in New England and Carolina.

He was referring to thinking he could perform at a Pro Bowl level, despite joining a new team halfway through the season.

But he also added that there are not 32 quarterbacks better than him, and said he wants to continue to play.

“I was signed on Thursday, I played on Sunday. At what point did you think you were going to be successful,” Newton said on the podcast, referring to himself. “That next Sunday, you started. That’s still up under 10 days of you being on the team. And you’re still trying to learn an offense.”

Newton will likely keep waiting for the right opportunity, whether that comes via injury or later in the season.

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Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson gestures toward fans after catching a long pass during practice at Training Camp on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 in Spartanburg, SC. Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez mrodriguez@charlotteobserver.com

Professionally, Anderson has moved on. He described his 50-yard touchdown reception from Baker Mayfield as a “beautiful throw” following Day 7 of Panthers training camp. The highlight play came on Tuesday and has since gone viral on Twitter.

“I think it was a beautiful throw. The O-Line blocked well too,” Anderson said. “But it was a fun play.”

Anderson and Mayfield are showing early chemistry at camp. In April, Anderson commented on an Instagram post from the account Panthers.Way about the report writing “Nooooo.” His reply received more than 6,000 likes. Anderson said his comment was about defending Darnold, and sticking up for his quarterback. He added that he had no issue with Mayfield.

The two have shown no issues at camp. Instead, Mayfield is looking for Anderson often.

Coming off a down year where he posted near career lows in receptions, yards and touchdowns, Anderson is confident offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new system will lead to a bounce-back season for him, but more importantly the entire offense.

“I played in a system like this my second year or third year at the Jets,” Anderson said. “It seems a little familiar. This system is like bits and pieces of my career put into one.”

Hailing from Minnesota, Ellis L. Williams joined the Observer in October 2021 to cover the Carolina Panthers. Prior, he spent two years reporting on the Browns for Cleveland.com/the Plain Dealer. Having escaped cold winters, he’s thrilled to consume football, hoops, music and movies within the Queen City.

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