The Rat Pack?

There’s good news for the Panthers and bad news for many of you losers.

Jim Rome
September 05, 2019 - 10:30 am
Cam Newton

USA Today


There’s good news for the Panthers and bad news for many of you losers. Notice I didn’t say ALL of you losers. Because many of you are amazing. But some of you are losers.  And you know who you are. And if you don’t, you’re about to find out. Now that I got that out of the way, let’s start with the good news: Cam Newton is not on the injury report ahead of Sunday’s opener against the Rams.

But there’s a difference between not being injured and actually feeling good. And Newton says he’s the latter: "I feel like a rookie again. I'm having fun, feeling good, and the thrill is still there."

That’s great news for the former MVP. Especially given that he suffered a sprained left foot in preseason, and he’s coming off shoulder surgery, and even more so, when you see Andrew Luck retiring.

Because Newton is right there with Luck when it comes to taking an absolute beating every time he steps on the field and if the Panthers organization didn’t freak out when they saw Luck retire, they should have. Because like Luck, Newton is big, and tough, and takes so many hits and keeps getting up, that you can almost think he’s indestructible, but he’s not. None of them are. 

He’s human. He’s tough as hell and strong as hell, but there is only so much abuse that a quarterback can take, even the biggest, baddest, toughest, and most durable quarterbacks break down at some point if you don’t protect them.

You saw that last year when he battled through a shoulder injury before shutting it down. When he couldn’t throw deep, the Panthers weren’t the same offense or the same team.  Because he wasn’t the same guy. And he wasn’t the same guy, because he was getting the snot beat out of him...

They were 6-2 before his arm nearly fell off and their season fell apart. But as proof of his toughness, not that you should need any more after watching him take all the hits he’s taken over the years, Newton kept playing, even though his shoulder wasn’t right and he couldn’t throw deep.

But now, after surgery in January and the offseason to recover, Newton says he’s good to go, in part because of his plant-powered approach. "Vegan. Vegan strong. That helps a lot. I've been a vegan all year, and I don't think I'm going back. I feel good. I recover well. And that's pretty much what it's all about. It's not putting certain things in your body that is going to combat your body trying to recover. You want to put things in your body that is going to expedite that whole process."

So there you go. He’s feeling good, he’s eating good, and he’s ready for the season to start. Clean burning fuel.

So it’s all good, right? There is no bad news, then, right? Ehhh!! Nope. That’s not why some of you dopes are going to be angry about what Newton had to say.

I know some of you feel really threatened when people talk about eating clean or committing to a plant-powered life, but there’s something else that’s going to bother you.

Just because he’s vegan, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have beef. He has beef all right. And that beef is with his teammates. Specifically, Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuels. His three offensive weapons who have been given a nickname.

And Newton isn’t feeling it. In fact, he feels excluded from it.

"They've got this thing right now where they're a part of the rat pack, cat pack, whatever it is. And I was thinking they need like a lead singer, like The Temptations. David Ruffin was in The Temptations. It was David Ruffin and The Temptations. I was saying they've got to add me to it, Ace Boogie. ... If they want to sell records, if they want to get noticed ... they need to implement me in some type of way."

Did you catch that? It was right there in the first sentence of that quote. And I want to illuminate it for you because I think a bunch of you probably lost your minds as soon as you heard the first word. You heard one word and started running around the room, acting like the cool substitute had just wheeled in a TV and VCR.  

I’ll read the first sentence back to you and this time, I want you to listen with your ears open. Hear the whole sentence before you freak out:

"They've got this thing right now where they're a part of the rat pack, cat pack, whatever it is.”

Did you hear that? I want to be crystal clear about this. Cam Newton did not announce that the Rat Family is back. Because the Rat Family is never coming back.

In fact, Cam Newton did not mention the Rat Family. Cam Newton probably doesn’t even know about the Rat Family. He’s probably never given any thought to what Zane Smith, Gary Gaetti and Emerson Fittipaldi have in common. Why would he?

He’s a professional football player. He’s an NFL MVP. He’s a very busy man. He’s not sitting around thinking about how Greg Gagne looks. And if he ever thinks about Jeff Hostetler, it’s probably just to watch tape on how he attacked a defense, not whether he likes cheese.

So get that through your heads.

The other thing is, he didn’t even refer to the Rat Family. He called the trio of weapons the Rat Pack, which is completely different and isn’t even their nickname in the first place.

McCaffrey, Moore, and Samuels have been referred to as The Cat Pack, not the Rat Pack. The Cat Pack, as in Panthers, get it?

So keep on moving. There’s nothing to see. The story here is that Cam Newton is healthy, he’s eating clean, and he’s feeling good. The story is that Cam Newton is back, not the Rat Family. It’s never, ever coming back. Believe me, if I could have it scrubbed from the internet, I would. We all do things when we’re younger, that we regret. I’ll own it, I did, I have. I still do. But especially I did. And one of those of those things I regret, is sitting around, for hours on end, looking for athletes and coaches that looked like rats so I could put them in their own family. Unfortunately for me, that game was fun as hell.  And easy as hell. Because lots of people take on certain rat like tendencies.  The beady eyes.  The rat like whiskers. The proclivity for cheddar.  But that was then, this is now and that was regrettable.  I own it and I’m doing everything I can to make sure that family has been laid to rest. 

And for the last time, you should too. Nothing to see here.  Especially the rats. Just a healthy Cam Newton, is eating clean and slinging it around the joint. And that’s what I’m’ focused on. Just that. Not humans, resembling rats, nibbling, showing their teeth and hustling from point A to point B. And if that’s your focus you’ve got the wrong show and the wrong host.