Dave Gettleman OK with Cam Newton's offseason activities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers aren't ready to put quarterback Cam Newton in "Bubble Wrap" and prevent him from participating in offseason activities such as flag football and Knockerball.

"Rory Mcllroy went out and played soccer," said Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman, referring to the world's No. 1-ranked golfer rupturing a ligament in his left ankle in a non-golf activity. "Obviously, it cost him a British Open and a few more tournaments.

"They're guys. You can't put them in Bubble Wrap. You just can't do it. It doesn't make a difference who it is. You look at all of these guys across every sport. They're 20-something-year-old guys full of vim and vinegar. So let's go."

Newton, 26, had an active offseason that included an Easter weekend game of Knockerball, working out with an Australian Football League team as a part of Gatorade's Athlete Exchange program and a cameo appearance in a game of flag football in Atlanta.

The Knockerball experience came a few months before Newton signed a five-year, $103.8 million extension that made him one of the five highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. The game required Newton to put his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame into a plastic bubble and launch himself at other opponents.

The Australian Football League and flag football experiences came after Newton signed his new deal.

Newton, who spent the 2014 offseason recovering from left ankle surgery, was not injured in any of the activities. He is healthier than he has been since Carolina made him the first pick of the 2011 draft as the Panthers prepare to report Thursday to training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

While Gettleman doesn't want to put his franchise quarterback unnecessarily at risk, he told ESPN.com on Monday that he's not willing to tell Newton not to live life or have fun.

"Listen," Gettleman said. "We talk to the guys. We talk about putting them in a position to succeed. We talk to them about big picture all the time. Then you've got to let them go. You've got to let your kids go."