When asked what dish he couldn’t go without on Thanksgiving, Cam Newton was anything but cliché.
It’s not the turkey, dressing or mac and cheese. It’s sweet, red Kool-Aid.
“Everyone has food, but if you don’t have something to flush it down with, it just doesn’t make it Thanksgiving,” Newton said. “So on top of having red rice, the ham, the turkey, some people may have the fried chicken, the potato salad, the spaghetti salad, the collard greens, chitterlings, you have to flush that down with some great red Kool-Aid.”
The quarterback said he’s going back home to suburban Atlanta after the Panthers’ practice Thursday where he and his family will feast before playing some backyard football.
Defensive end Frank Alexander said his favorite dish is crawfish cornbread and dressing. The Louisiana native swore his aunt made that dish better than anyone could. After naming the usual dishes on Thanksgiving, fellow defensive end Charles Johnson threw a curveball.
“I need some greens. I need some fried chicken, some turkey, but a good thanksgiving would be some deer meat,” Johnson said. “Throw me some deer meat in and I’ll be in there.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he won’t be watching Thursday’s slate of games or even film on the Eagles. He plans to eat, sleep and go see “Lincoln” in theaters. He and his wife, Stephanie, have invited over any Panthers who won’t be able to go home for the holiday.
“My wife bought four turkeys this year,” Rivera said. “Last year she only had two and there were no leftovers.”
THE LIGHTER SIDE: Whether it was the approaching holiday or the fact he had the day off from practice, Panthers receiver Steve Smith was in a light-hearted Wednesday.
Smith, whose mood swings are as much a part of his Panthers legacy as his catches in traffic, had reporters laughing around his locker with a series of one-liners.
Here’s what Smith had to say on:
The Panthers-Eagles matchup on Monday Night Football: “Oh, it’s real exciting,” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “You’ve got the battle of the bads, I guess.
“They’ve got a lot of things going on, just as we do. But all that goes out the window. You get to be on center stage in front of friends, families. It’s always exciting to be the only show playing.”
The atmosphere at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on a Monday night: “Obviously, you want to be at home. But a place like that, hopefully we’ll get things going pretty good, so they’ll have that jail filled up in the bottom (of the stadium).”
Whether the 2-8 Panthers were hungry or starving for a win: “How about malnutrition? Well beyond (hunger). Searching through the trash, looking for any scraps. I think we’re there.”
GETTING A REST: Smith, who is dealing with a finger injury, was one of several players held out of practice Wednesday. Most were veteran players given the day off. Special teams player Colin Jones was sidelined with post-concussion symptoms.
Defensive tackles Dwan Edwards and Ron Edwards got the day off, as did linebacker Thomas Davis. Offensive linemen Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangartner also did not participate in practice to give them a rest.
Defensive end Charles Johnson practiced and passed the concussion protocol tests after being hit in the head Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Staff writer Ron Green Jr. contributed.