Something about being in Tennessee brings out the devil in Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
The Panthers quarterback didn’t participate in any team drills Wednesday in the first of two joint practices with the Tennessee Titans.
But Newton still made sure he was part of the action, engaging in some trash-talking with Titans’ players – and even some of their fans – during the two-hour session at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
It was all good-natured poking from Newton, who threw during warmups and an individual period with his receivers before taking the rest of the day off.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who is usually on the other end of Newton’s taunts, was not surprised to hear that Newton traded barbs with the Titans.
“I don’t think Cam is going to have any issues with finding somebody to talk trash with,” Davis said. “He does a really good job of scoping out the right people for that, especially here in Tennessee.”
When the Panthers played in Nashville in 2015, a couple of Tennessee linebackers took exception to Newton punctuating a 2-yard touchdown run by dabbing in the end zone.
Newton’s celebratory dance moves also drew the ire of “Tennessee Mom,” a Nashville woman who was complained about Newton’s “chest puffs” and “pelvic thrusts” in a letter to the editor in the Observer.
Things didn’t escalate Wednesday like they did in the 2015 game.
The Titans players and fans seemed to be having fun with Newton, even when he got onto a clearly winded Kevin Dodd, the Titans outside linebacker from Clemson.
“You need some electrolytes, brother,” Newton yelled from the sideline.
The Tennessee players Newton didn’t know by name, he simply referred to by their number, as in: “Hey, 24 (cornerback Kalan Reed), all I’m saying is if was in there I know who I’d be throwing to.”
Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien said Newton helped bring out the competitiveness in both teams. At one point Newton complained that it was “too quiet out here,” imploring someone to provide some “juice.”
That someone most often was Newton.
“He can talk a lot more when he’s not practicing,” Cyprien said. “It was kind of hot out there today. So he was talking a lot more than anybody else was.”