Cam Newton to start for Panthers on Sunday

Cam Newton will be the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday against the visiting Washington Football Team.

Head coach Matt Rhule confirmed Friday that Newton “will take the first snap,” but also said P.J. Walker will be active and will have a role in the offense.

“We have plays for Cam, plays for P.J.,” Rhule said. “P.J. we think is an excellent quarterback, Cam can make a difference, so we’ll use both of them.”

The Panthers signed Newton to a free-agent deal on Nov. 12 after putting quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) on injured reserve. It marked a return to Carolina for Newton, whom the franchise drafted No. 1 overall in 2011.

Newton, 32, was released prior to the 2020 season and spent last season with the New England Patriots.

He played nine snaps and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) in last Sunday’s 34-10 win against the Arizona Cardinals, a game started by Walker.

When the Panthers (5-5) face Washington (3-6) on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C., the coach on the opposite sideline will be Ron Rivera.

Rivera was Newton’s head coach in Carolina from 2011-19, a stretch that included an MVP season for Newton in 2015 and a loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.