Is it time for Carolina Panthers icon Cam Newton to officially announce retirement to receive the well-deserved plaudits and distinctions coming his way?
It seems as if another NFL season is going by with Cam Newton's participation. The legendary quarterback hasn't been on the field since his bombshell return to the Carolina Panthers in 2021, but he remains adamant about getting another chance.
One problem - the league has moved on.
Even the Panthers seem to have finally found the heir to Newton's franchise throne in Bryce Young, who's demonstrated impressive growth and looks more than capable of leading this organization back to prominence with better options around him moving forward.
Newton has a lot going away from football. His new podcast is thriving and various other businesses demand significant attention, so his transition away from the gridiron couldn't be going any better.
Cam Newton should retire officially from the NFL
That said, Newton's pro-day workout at Auburn earlier this spring was a tell-tale sign of his desire to get back involved. The signal-caller also stated recently that he wouldn't be coming back for anything less than good money, which is a bold claim when one considers it's been almost three seasons since he was considered a legitimate starter.
Even the biggest Newton loyalist - of which there are many after his exceptional contribution to the Panthers - will admit it's probably over for a man who became the league's face for a brief period. So why not embrace the fact and officially announce retirement with the obvious fanfare attached?
This might seem like admitting defeat for Newton in pursuit of another opportunity. But there are so many distinctions awaiting him once he hangs up his cleats for good.
Newton was asked about one glaring topic by Brandon Marshall. And the Heisman Trophy winner lent support to the claims that he should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame via USA Today Sports once eligible for selection - whenever that might be.
"Hell yeah. I’ll say it like this . . . I think it was Kanye [West] who said it. When I first came into the league, it was only one of me. Now when I look around the league, I see so many me’s."- Cam Newton via USA Today Sports
He's right. Newton broke barriers with his unique playing style and outstanding physical traits. The dual-threat weapon was an inspiration for players like Sam Howell, Anthony Richardson, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Justin Fields, Lamar Jackson, and… you get the picture.
The Canton debate with Newton will be a hot topic. But first, he needs to hand in his retirement papers to the league office.
If the Pro Football Hall of Fame is debatable, one certain thing is the Panthers Hall of Honor, for which Newton is a shoo-in. Watching Julius Peppers and Muhsin Muhammad get their well-deserved place among the franchise immortals during Week 8's win against the Houston Texans made fans wonder who might be next - Greg Olsen? Luke Kuechly? Thomas Davis? Even Newton himself?
Retire first. Then everyone who wants to shower Newton with plaudits and accolades that ensure his name lives through the ages can do just that.
It'll happen at some stage. Just don't hold your breath for this moment to come anytime soon.
Newton genuinely believes he still has something to offer despite so long in the proverbial football wilderness. He got dealt a rough hand by the Panthers and in New England, but that will never detract from the impact left on so many following in his footsteps.
Until the time comes, we wait…