When you think of Cam Newton, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Well, I’m not sure if New England Patriots Insider Henry McKenna was playing the first-word game or not, but in a recent article, he drilled the former MVP with the one f-word no athlete ever wants to hear.
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Cam Newton is “Fragile?”
McKenna’s comment came in a recent breakdown of 13 top available free agents who could help the Patriots, and who would be possibilities for the team to sign considering it has more than $35 million in cap space.
Specifically, McKenna was talking up the value of veteran offensive tackle Cordy Glenn when he wrote:
If the Patriots find they’re not content with what they have at tackle after Cannon’s opt-out (which is a likelihood), then Glenn could be an easy plug-and-play option. He won’t come cheap. But he’d solve major headaches over protecting quarterback Cam Newton, a fragile player who needs to take as few hits as possible.
Newton needed surgery to repair his shoulder and he also spent much of the 2019 season and the offseason recovering from a lisfranc injury. Both of these injuries would be considered fairly serious for an NFL player, and especially one like Newton whose effectiveness is dependent on his ability to be a dual-threat. There is no question Newton, who is now 31 years old, must play the game a little differently than he has in the past if he wants to preserve himself over the remainder of his career.
However, it’s still tough to overlook the negative connotations attached to any athlete being called fragile. Also, I’m not sure that’s a fair label for Newton, even when he has battled injury over the past few seasons.
Is it Fair to Call Newton Fragile?
Before the 2019 season, Newton missed just five games in his first eight seasons in the NFL, and he’d never been out more than two contests in one campaign. It’s true, he only played in 2 games in 2019, but that still doesn’t seem to justify the fragile label.
There are guys like former Chicago Bears great Jim McMahon and journeyman quarterback Chris Chandler who never played 16 games in a season across their entire careers. These were guys who every time they were tackled or sacked, the fanbase held their breath while they rose to their feet, or far too often needed help getting off the field.
That track record is one that is far more deserving of the fragile label than Newton’s one season with a chunk of missed games. Newton has said this upcoming year is about respect, and with each passing day, and article, it’s clear he was right. Staying healthy will likely have everything to do with proving the doubters wrong and shaking the unsavory labels.
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