CHARLOTTE – A smiling and visibly unscathed Cam Newton stood at the podium and spoke to the media Thursday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium.
He felt lucky to be there.
Two days ago, Newton dragged himself out of his flipped truck at the intersection of Church Street and Hill Street and was smiling in disbelief. But he couldn't speak.
"I couldn't really talk afterwards, because I was in such shock," Newton said. "I got myself out the truck and I couldn't stop smiling.
"I'm lucky to come out of there alive."
Newton surveyed the wreckage, and it didn't add up. He couldn't believe he was OK.
"In my book, one plus one is always going to equal two," Newton said. "I'm looking at this truck and I'm looking at this accident and I'm like, 'Dude, one plus one ain't equaling two.' Somebody is supposed to be dead."
After the adrenaline wore off, Newton could feel pain in his back. He was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center with two transverse process fractures. He spent the night in the hospital and was released the next day.
"God has his hands on me," Newton said. "I'm in somebody's fantasy league, and I think it's the man upstairs."
Newton returned to Bank of America Stadium on Thursday for treatment, and he later joined the team for meetings. Head coach Ron Rivera said he's not sure when Newton will return to practice, and that's not something the coach or the quarterback are focusing on right now.
"As far as when I am coming back – who cares? That's not something that I am worried about right now. I'm just thankful to have breath in my lungs," Newton said.
"Sports are not everything. It can be gone in an instant, I learned that firsthand."
Newton also learned how many people in the Panthers locker room and across the country care about him.
He thanked fans and NFL peers for the outpouring of support on social media.
"I really appreciate everything," he said. "That's what kept me through."
And now he'll do his best to support his teammates when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Bank of America as hyped as it's been this whole year," Newton said. "I'm backing DA (Derek Anderson) 100 percent. I can't wait to see these guys play. I'm going to be the biggest supporter."