QB Cam Newton says he put himself in tough situations with the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton still believes he's one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL and that the current perception people have of him comes from putting himself in a "f---ed-up'' situation with the Carolina Panthers last season.

"I signed on Thursday. I played on Sunday,'' the 2015 NFL MVP said on "The Pivot Podcast'' hosted by ESPN's Ryan Clark and former NFL players Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor. "At what point did you think you was going to be successful? The next week, I started. That's still under 10 days of you being on the team. And you're still trying to learn the offense.

"So before I sit up here and allow the narrative to be made that Cam ain't got it no more, Cam is taking full responsibility and saying Cam put himself in a f---ed-up situation, which then had a ricochet effect to people thinking [how they think of me].''

Newton, 33, is a free agent. He spent the final eight games with the Panthers last season after being signed in November when starter Sam Darnold was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Four days later, in a backup role, Newton scored on his first two plays -- a 2-yard run and a 2-yard pass -- to help the Panthers to an upset win at Arizona.

He started the next five games, going 0-5 with three touchdown passes and five interceptions. He also had four rushing touchdowns.

The Panthers did not re-sign him after the season, but kept the door open for a possible return to compete with Darnold, third-round pick Matt Corral and former XFL star P.J. Walker.

Newton, the first pick of the 2011 draft by the Panthers, believes he can help whatever team gives him a chance. He said repeatedly on the podcast "there's not 32 guys better than me.''

"If you think I couldn't be on somebody's team right now, you're a damn fool,'' Newton said.

Newton said what the 33-year-old version of him needs is a team with a good supporting cast and time to learn the system. .

"If you're asking to run this show without your supporting cast upholding their end of the bargain, then you're always going to be left alone,'' Newton said.

Newton reminded he didn't have that with the Panthers in 2021 and never got a chance to fully learn the offense in New England in 2020 after signing in late June that year.

"The New England experience was a f---ed-up situation,'' Newton said. "I was still learning the offense seven to eight weeks into the season,'' he said.

Newton won his first start for the Patriots, but finished 7-8 and had only eight touchdown passes, but 10 interceptions. He re-signed after the season, but was released at the end of training camp when New England decided to go with first-round pick Mac Jones.

"It was just brain overload,'' Newton said of his 2020 season. "It was times I was going to the line and I'm still thinking. ... Did I know it? Yes. To the degree that I needed to know it to show the world that I'm still Cam Newton? No.

"But I put myself in that situation.''

Newton likened himself to Superman with his touchdown celebrations when he first came into the league, but he doesn't do that now.

"I've got so many kids [five] now that if I'm not Superman to them I'll be damned if I'll allow the world to call me Superman,'' he said.

Newton also explained that he never meant to put down or defame women when he appeared on the "Million Dollaz Worth of Game'' podcast in April.

On the podcast, Newton talked about women who "can't cook'' and "don't know when to be quiet.''

"Now a woman, for me, is handling your own but knowing how to cater to a man's needs. Right?'' Newton said in April. "And I think a lot of times when you get that aesthetic of like, 'I'm a boss b-----, I'm this, I'm that.'

"No, baby! But you can't cook. You don't know when to be quiet. You don't know how to allow a man to lead."

Newton reminded he grew up in a household with "two strong women,'' his mother and grandmother, in addition to a strong father.

"What I should have added was as a strong man you also have to listen to your partner,'' Newton said. " I didn't make that point then. ... I'm saying as strong men we have to appreciate that strong force in our life.''

Asked if he was ready to step away from football, Newton said, "I was prepared, honestly, when the Panthers cut me the first time.''

That happened in 2020 after Matt Rhule was hired to replace coach Ron Rivera.

But in almost the same breath Newton continued the narrative that he's still one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL and he still has the desire to prove himself. He also said any team that gets him will have to deal with everything that comes with his sometimes bigger-than-life personality.

"Because they do know once you bring a Cam Newton into your organization it's going to be a mantra to itself ... 'Put Cam in! Put Cam in!''' Newton said. "But you can never find a coach, you can never find a player, you can never find a person in the office that says Cam was a cancer.

"Now, am I supposed to apologize for my impact being as big as it is? Absolutely not.''