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Cam Newton says NFL MVP ‘last thing on my mind’

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has become a popular dark-horse candidate for the NFL’s MVP award, but he dismissed the notion quickly on Wednesday.

“That’s the last thing that’s on my mind right now,” Newton said before switching the topic to how loud he hopes the stadium will be for Sunday’s game.

Most of Newton’s numbers are down from his first two seasons, but his accuracy and win-loss record have improved. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who votes on the award, has Newton as one of the players in his MVP race.

Newton has 3,049 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, an 89.6 passer rating, 507 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.

With two weeks left in the season, popular opinion has Denver quarterback Peyton Manning winning the award for a record fifth time this season. Manning is on track to throw for more touchdowns in a single season than any quarterback in history and could break Drew Brees’ single-season mark for most passing yards, needing 665 in the final two games.

Rivera didn’t discount that if Newton can have a big game against the Saints, it would go a long way toward his candidacy.

“I think in a game like this, any time you have success on a marquee game, you’re most certainly in the conversation,” Rivera said. “He’s done a lot of things that deserve recognition, that’s for sure. I think that he’s handled it very, very well. He’s doing a great job.”

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