Delhomme says Newton right guy for Carolina

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.”

AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org