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Cam Newton jokes Panthers aren't given time to work on dance moves

The Panthers have been relatively innocuous in their touchdown celebrations, even after the league relaxed the rules. Abbie Parr/Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From quarterback Cam Newton's dab to fullback Mike Tolbert's "The Carlton" to group sideline photos, the Carolina Panthers were the poster child of touchdown celebrations in 2015.

Wide receivers Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin were fined for a dual touchdown dance in 2016.

Now that the league has relaxed its celebration rule, allowing players to choreograph group routines and have more fun, the Panthers are doing -- well, not much.

Newton still does his patented "Superman" move after scoring a rushing touchdown, followed by giving a kid in the stands the football as part of his "Sunday Giveaway" program.

But for the most part, the Panthers have left the choreography to other teams.

"It's been a lot of amusement this year with the NFL, the fact the referees and the rules have been somewhat lenient to some of the fun that's been going on," Newton said Wednesday as he prepared for Sunday's NFC South showdown at the New Orleans Saints. "It's just good to see. It's healthy for the sport. It's appeasing for the fans to see it.

"If my mom is paying attention to things, as well as my little brother ... obviously it's making a big impact."

Newton said it's "funny" people were questioning the Panthers for all their extracurricular activity two years ago.

"Just all the negative connotations that came with just having fun, bringing the joy to the game," he said. "Now that a lot of people are catching up to that, it's not a problem.

"I'm not going to sit up here and say we started it, because we didn't. I'm not going to take that credit, because there were so many people before me who played with that type of persona. For us, it was all about just having that contagious attitude."

Newton said the Panthers, tied with New Orleans at 8-3, still are having fun despite their lack of contrived celebrations.

"It's no need to do anything," he said. "We've been kind of stumbling up with certain things, but every time we come up with something, we feel like somebody else has taken it.

"The most important part is getting into the end zone. I don't think we have adequate time on the field to be working on end zone dance. Our hands are full getting everyone back as healthy as possible. And having the coaching staff we have, we have a bunch of Debbie Downers."

As a room full of reporters laughed, Newton referred to offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

"He's the ringleader of it," Newton said jokingly. "Never enough time to work on our dance moves."