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When Cam Newton broke onto the scene as an amazing rookie performer in 2011, there wasn't a whole lot made of possible maturity issues.
Back in 2010, ESPN reported that Newton had been on the verge of being suspended from Florida prior to transferring to a junior college. This is just one example of a long line of different issues, some since resolved, that plagued Newton prior to his breakout performance for Auburn in 2010.
Based on his behavior this season, it doesn't appear that Newton has matured a great deal since then.
Teammate Steve Smith "lit into" Newton earlier this year.
I lit into him because I thought it was an opportunity for him to see and understand what was going on. This is more than about playing football. It's about becoming a man and understanding what this is.
Pete Prisco ran a report earlier this week that indicated other NFL players weren't happy with Newton's attitude during the Pro Bowl last season. One unnamed player went as far as to say: "He was a total ----hole. Who did he think he was? He acted like the big s---. Here he was at his first game and he acted like he was the star. Guys didn't like that.''
That isn't real leadership. In order for the Carolina Panthers to contend in 2013, they need their franchise quarterback to take over as a team leader and mature quite a bit. If not, we could see major problems down the road.