The Facts: As the Panthers began offseason workouts this week with Newton on the sideline rehabbing from surgery, the quarterback told the team's official website that he felt it was his duty as a team captain to play if he could. "Was it smart? People may say it wasn't, but at the end of the day, I think the bigger picture was I'm one of the leaders on this team," Newton said. "I just want to set a good standard that, listen, the team comes first and I'm just going to put myself in position to try to lead this team as much as possible."
Indeed, when the news came down that Newton needed offseason shoulder surgery, after suffering a partial tear in his rotator cuff in Week 14, the immediate question became: Why did the quarterback play the final games of a lost season? "At the end of the day," Newton added, "I felt as if there was another thing that was achieved. I wear the 'C' patch on my jersey with great pride, and I feel as if it comes around again, would I reconsider it? Yeah, but also knowing those guys that I'm going to give every single thing that I have to give for this game, for the fans, for my teammates, especially." Newton attempted to rehab the shoulder without surgery this offseason. When the injury wasn't responding as team trainers hoped, surgery was the next option. And now, Newton's ability to take part in the offseason program will be an issue. We'll all be watching for signs to what degree that might be.