Cam Newton won't play Sunday against Tampa Bay if it means putting the Carolina Panthers at risk, but he feels he's on pace to start against the Buccaneers.
Newton said Thursday that with how he felt after practice, he is on track to being healthy enough to play. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton will likely be a game-day decision.
Newton took limited reps at practice Thursday after not participating in practice on Wednesday due to soreness.
In the weeks since fracturing his rib against New England, Newton has expressed confidence when asked if he would be ready for Week 1. Thursday he started to hedge his bets.
"Every day I have an opportunity," Newton said. "Now we have days, and in a couple of days it'll be down to hours. And then hours will be down to minutes. Hopefully when that clock starts I will be on that field. I'm being optimistic about this whole thing and I have no other choice but to be that way."
Rivera believed some of the lack of confidence stemmed from how sore Newton was on Wednesday.
"It's starting to dissipate," Rivera said. "So we increased his work today, and again, tomorrow will be a big day. It's all about how he feels the next day. I told that to you guys yesterday. We were concerned a little bit coming out of yesterday's practice. We wanted to see how he was this morning. He had a lot of energy today, moved around pretty well. We stayed to the schedule. He wanted to do a few more things but we slowed him down."
Rivera said Newton saw all the adjustments and route progressions during walk through and practice, but the coach declined multiple times to say if Newton threw during practice.
Newton did not throw during Wednesday's practice. And he did not throw during the 20-minute portion of practice open to the media Thursday.
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