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Delhomme says Newton right guy for Carolina

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

Jake Delhomme thinks quarterback Cam Newton is the right guy to get the Carolina Panthers back to the Super Bowl.

''He's 24 years old and let's see what happens the rest of the year, but I don't think there's any doubt this guy can certainly do it,'' Delhomme said.

The team's career passing leader, Delhomme led the Panthers to their only Super Bowl appearance in 2003. He returned to the stadium Sunday for the first time since being released four years ago and banged the ''keep pounding'' drum before Carolina played the Atlanta Falcons.

Newton has eight total touchdowns - six passing and two rushing - and no turnovers during Carolina's current three-game winning streak.

''He is talented and he throws the ball plenty good enough and his legs are dangerous,'' said Delhomme, who now lives in his hometown of Breaux Bridge, La. ''That's what makes him so scary. ... Guys don't want to hit him. He's a freak of nature.''

Delhomme said Newton was thrust into a tough situation when he was forced to start right away as a rookie in 2011.

''Aaron Rodgers got to sit for all of those years and that's big,'' Delhomme said. ''Cam never had an opportunity to learn what not to do in the NFL.

''One year of college, you dominate, come right into the NFL and break every record as a rookie. And then last year he hit some bumps in the road, but he never had an opportunity to learn what not to do from watching an interview or watching someone else. Last year was a huge learning year for him. This year I think he's playing fantastic. He's playing within himself and playing very well.''

Delhomme said it was tough being released by the Panthers, but time has helped heal wounds.

He embraced team owner Jerry Richardson and talked with him at midfield before the game. Delhomme later exchanged an embrace with his former favorite weapon and close friend Steve Smith.

''Look, I got released. I understand the business,'' Delhomme said. ''As much as I didn't want it to happen, it happened. ... Look, Peyton Manning is not playing for the Colts anymore. Me not playing for the Panthers is not that much of a tragic thing.''

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AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

Tagged: Panthers, Texans, Jake Delhomme, Cam Newton

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