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Ron Rivera defends Cam Newton on fumble, press conference

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers and head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers stand on the field prior to Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Panthers coach Ron Rivera has no issues with the way Cam Newton conducted himself in Super Bowl 50, on the field or afterward.

Asked on PFT Live about Newton’s sullen attitude at the post-Super Bowl press conference, Rivera said the public got to see the raw feelings of a great competitor whose team had just fallen short.

“The one thing about Cam that I think a lot of people have to understand is he hates to lose. He really does. And a lot of great ones have that,” Rivera said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t win the big one. I think he’ll learn and grow from this situation and come back stronger next year.”

Rivera also said criticism of Newton for failing to fall on a fourth-quarter fumble is unfounded. Rivera said Newton was trying to locate the ball and get himself into position to recover it.

“I think he was looking for the rebound. When that group of guys came diving in, when it ricocheted backwards, he tried to turn and get after the ball. When you look at the circumstances he was looking at, I have no problem with that,” Rivera said.

Now, Rivera says, he needs his team to get back on track and ready to come back better in 2016.

“Just rebuilding the confidence, getting that swagger back that we’re going to need heading into next season,” Rivera said. “Right now we’re down, I know that, our players feel it, but we’ve got to get it back and get it back early.”

That starts with his best player.