Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in opening week of the 2014-15 NFL season despite suffering from fractured ribs, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year told NFL insider David Newton of ESPN.
Newton, who suffered the injury in the Panthers' 30-7 loss to the New England Patriots in their penultimate preseason game, stresses he will find a way to start the season.
The former no.1 overall pick added that his ribs are feeling well, believing he will reach 100 percent just in time for the game.
"No setback at all,'' Newton told ESPN "I'm excited about the opportunity, and each day brings more confidence that I am close to 100 percent.''
Newton actually did better in Wednesday's practice before joining his teammates on board to Pittsburg for the Panthers' final preseason game against the Steelers.
After missing most of the Panthers' offseason workout to give time for his surgically repaired left ankle to heal, Newton is optimistic that he can stay healthy for the entire season. Moreover, he insisted that injuries won't change his aggressive style of play.
"I am who I am,'' Newton said. "Things do happen. One thing you know playing this game is you will get hurt sooner or later. This is a physical sport and needs to be played that way.'
Coach Ron Rivera has been pushing Newton to slide on the pitch as precautionary measure to protect his ankle, although he never wanted to see the quarterback change his approach in the game.
"Should he slide? Yeah, I'd like to see him slide. But at the same time I want him to play the way he plays best.''
The 25-year old Newton completed 292 passes for 3,379 yards with 24 touchdowns last season for the Panthers, who achieved their fifth postseason appearance in franchise history.