Former Teammate Mike Tolbert Blames Panthers for Making Cam Newton's Injury Woes Worse

Quarterback Cam Newton and running back Tolbert as members of the Carolina Panthers
Quarterback Cam Newton and running back Tolbert as members of the Carolina Panthers | Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Is Cam Newton still Cam Newton? It's not every day that a former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP is available on the free agent wire, but the case of the former Panthers franchise quarterback is a strange one. After falling out of favor in Charlotte amid a nagging foot injury, Cam's long-term durability on this side of age 30 is an opene question.

And according to a former Carolina teammate, the Panthers organization is most to blame for the QB's health woes.

It's a serious indictment that Mike Tolbert is dishing out here.

"They’ve been doing him wrong timing-wise for the past two or three years," Tolbert said to The Athletic. "It goes back to his shoulder surgery. Everyone knew his shoulder was messed up in the middle of the year two years ago. But they wait until offseason gets ready to start to have shoulder surgery. Makes no sense."

Tolbert went on to insist that the Panthers misdiagnosed and mishandled Newton's more recent foot injury, initially and wrongly considering it an ankle sprain.

These are incendiary accusations, but they'd also help to explain just what happened to Newton in such relatively short order. In an era in which the top signal-callers are proving they can hack it past the age of 40, Newton falling back down to earth such as he has deserves a certain amount of scrutiny.