CHARLOTTE -- With reports and opinions aplenty surfacing about quarterback Cam Newton's potential return to action, head coach Ron Rivera delivered a strong message when he met with the media Tuesday morning.
"The problem with it is, Cam has epitomized what we've asked of him being a captain. He's been there in support of his teammates, he's been around," Rivera said. "When we met, when we first got together and talked about this, we told him, 'Hey, we're not going to put pressure on you. We're going to hold tight, hold the fort down, and our guys will play.' So, until he's 100 percent, until he's ready to roll, we're not going to address it. He's done everything we've asked. The people that are, 'Well, why has he not been around?' He's been around, we just don't want him standing on the sideline for four and a half hours for no reason. That's the unfair thing about it. We didn't want to take him on an eight and a half hour, nine-hour flight.
"I think people need to understand that the young man has done everything we've asked. I'm trying to stay true to what I told him. We're not going to put that kind of pressure on him. So, until we have it confirmed with our doctors and stuff like that, we're going to continue to do what we're doing."
Rivera knows Newton is determined to get back out there, but it's important that he takes his time and fully recovers.
"That's why when we sat down, I talked to him and told him, 'You know, Cam, when it's time. And you're really the only one who knows it.' So, we'll go from there and at the end of the day, we're focusing on the now."