CHARLOTTE – Cam Newton has reached his breaking point.
Following Sunday's 30-20 victory over the Cardinals, the star quarterback expressed his extreme frustration with hits he continues to take that aren't penalized.
The latest was delivered by Arizona defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who struck Newton's lower right leg as he released a pass midway through the third quarter. Newton was stationary in the pocket, but the officials elected not to throw a flag.
Here's what the NFL rulebook states: "No defensive player who has an unrestricted path to the quarterback may hit him flagrantly in the area of the knee(s) or below when approaching in any direction."
Here's what Newton had to say after the game:
"It's really taken the fun out of the game for me, honestly. It really is, because at times I don't even feel safe. Right? And enough is enough. I plan on talking to Commissioner Roger Goodell about this. But it's not fun, and I don't know what I have to do.
"I mean I showed a lot of frustration today and I apologized to the referee who I was talking to, but I don't think there is a person that can go through what I go through and still keep their head. You know what I'm saying? Hits to the head, that's one thing but when you're not protected in the pocket, that's another thing. The story of my life ever since I came in is, 'Oh well, we missed that one. I'm sorry. I'll try to get it.' That's bull crap.
"When you constantly see the hits, when you constantly see flags being picked up, when you constantly see flags not being thrown and to see other quarterbacks getting it, lesser hits, lesser physical hits, then it's taking the fun for me out."
Newton went on to say that at times he does not feel properly protected by the officials. Fortunately for Newton and the Panthers, the reigning MVP walked off the field unscathed after the dangerous hit.
"I could have torn my ACL," Newton said. "That's the breaking point."