Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has asked that rookie quarterback Cam Newton not get any tattoos or piercings. Richardson, a former teammate of crew cut–sporting NFL legend Johnny Unitas, has also asked Newton to keep his hair cropped close. Thus far, there has been no word that they're pushing him to rock Unitas' signature high tops.
After watching Newton's uneven performance in the Panthers' preseason loss to the Bengals on Thursday night, though, Richardson and the Panthers coaching staff would probably be best served not to try force the rookie to also play with the same style as Unitas regardless of how they'd like him to look.
The 6-foot-5, 244 pound Newton completed just six of 19 pass attempts for 75 yards and didn't show nearly as much touch as he has arm strength -- or just physical strength. Despite his lackluster aerial effort, Newton delivered the highlight of the night with a bruising 16-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The doubts about his accuracy that have dogged Newton since he was tapped as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft were certainly exacerbated by his latest preseason performance. Of course, the manner in which he alternately steamrolled and evaded defenders en route to the endzone also shows why the Panthers' front office seems intent on giving Newton every chance to win the starting job.