CHARLOTTE – When the announcement was made that the Panthers had signed free agent safety Eric Reid, quarterback Cam Newton's initial reaction was pretty much the same as everyone else's.
"Obviously it was a wowing kind of response from everybody, including myself," Newton said at his Wednesday press conference.
A "wowing" moment both because of Reid's prolonged absence from the NFL and his talent level. We're talking about a Pro Bowl caliber safety who at 26 is in his prime.
Losing veteran Da'Norris Searcy to injured reserve was a blow. Adding the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Reid as a replacement in Week 5 is almost too good to be true.
"I think it was the right move. He's a great player. We've accepted him with open arms," Newton said. "We know he's going to be an impact player for us, and that's all I care about."
Of course there is much more to Reid's story than his ability on the field. He's fiercely determined to call attention and bring awareness to issues of racial injustice. He told the media on Monday that he plans to "continue to speak for my people."
"I'm going to stand by him and none of that will be a distraction as far as us winning football games," Newton said. "What he does on the football field is going to impact this team. I know that.
"We got a steal, I feel," Newton added. "I know there are a lot of teams that if Eric was still a free agent they would love to have him. I don't need (to) say the teams, but I'm glad we got him."