CHARLOTTE – Friday night at Bank of America Stadium, the Fan Fest spotlight beamed on quarterback Cam Newton.
Just imagine the attention when he's able to throw a pass again.
"He is a dynamic personality," head coach Ron Rivera said after Newton fired up the announced crowd of 58,568 without firing a forward pass. "We have a great fan base here that really supports this football team. It's kind of neat. He was engaged, and that's a big part of it with our fan base."
After throwing in the first team period at training camp practice Sunday at Wofford College, the Panthers pulled Newton out for the final three team periods to rest his surgically repaired shoulder. The team was off Monday, and with Newton still bothered by soreness, he didn't throw during three more training camp practices or Friday.
But he did everything but throw the ball throughout the practices and was equally involved behind the scenes.
"He's had a good week. He really has, believe it or not," Rivera said. "There are some things we do that you guys don't get to see, and he's really on top of it. I can't wait until they clear it for him to go ahead and start throwing again."
Whether he had been throwing or not, Newton would have found time to pump up the crowd as he does every year at this event. During an early special teams period, he jogged from section to section, encouraging more and more noise with each turn. In a late special teams period, he successfully got "The Wave" going around the entire bowl.
He was pleased with the crowd's effort, and vice versa.
"That's him," rookie running back Christian McCaffrey said. "He's got a great personality and is a great leader. That's what he does."
Newton and the Panthers will be off Saturday, then return to the Wofford practice fields Sunday at 3:10 p.m. as they being preparations for Wednesday night's preseason opener against the Texans back at Bank of America Stadium.