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Cam Newton “not worried about possibly” playing final home game in Carolina

Matt Rhule has claimed that both Sam Darnold and Cam Newton will play for the Panthers in Week 16, but Mike Florio and Myles Simmons see a team that has run out of ideas in what's become a lost season.

The Panthers play their final home game of the season Sunday. That means Cam Newton could be playing his final home game at Bank of America Stadium.

The quarterback, who is in his second stint in Carolina after spending 2020 in New England, repeated his mantra Thursday when asked about the possibility. It’s about the here and now for Newton, and talk of his legacy and his future can wait.

“You keep using this word possibly. I’m not worried about possibly,” Newton said, via Darin Gantt of the team website. “I’m just worried about the next game, which is the most important game to me because it’s the next game. that’s important because we need to win. That’s it. That’s the only thing. I’m not worried about possibly this, possibly that. I’m just focused on winning. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Newton will start against the Buccaneers and play a “major role,” coach Matt Rhule said this week, but Sam Darnold also will see time. Darnold hasn’t played since Week 9 because of a shoulder injury.

“Man, I’m going to control everything I can control. I’m not going to entertain that, and I don’t want that to be a hindrance,” Newton said when asked about playing alongside another quarterback and whether he would sign up for that again. “I’m so focused on trying to win. That you guys have to understand and hear it in my voice. Nothing else is important to me, than winning. I don’t know whether that was missed along the lines, since I’ve been here. But my main focus is trying to find a way to win come Sunday. And that’s what it’s all about.

“So comparing, what this is, what it’s like, man, I’m the ultimate competitor and the ultimate team player. And the ultimate person that’s just trying to yearn, desire. I saged; I prayed; I prayed some more; I meditated, just on winning. That doesn’t all lead to wins, but at the same time, I’m not about to sit up here and go back and forth on what I will entertain and what I won’t. What I am trying to entertain is winning on Sunday so everything else can just be subsided. When you do lose, everything is inflamed, so to speak.”