Cam Newton, entering his third year as the Carolina Panthers starting quarterback, has been named as one of six team captains for this season. Head coach Ron Rivera announced the captains prior to Thursday’s practice.
In addition to Newton, the other five captains are reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year LB Luke Kuechly, LB Thomas Davis, WR Steve Smith, LT Jordan Gross and C Ryan Kalil.
Newton’s captainship reflects on how the 2011 No. 1 overall draft choice has grown over the offseason. He came to camp with a more serious attitude and showed a lot of leadership qualities. Kuechly, who led the league in tackles last season, is the defensive player everyone follows and gravitates towards. Davis, Smith, Gross and Kalil are the veterans who are showing the way for all players. Gross, Smith and Davis were captains last season as well.
The Panthers open the 2013 season Sunday at home against the Seattle Seahawks.