CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton got a chance to show off for the fans a little at the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest on Saturday.
However, coach Ron Rivera said there was a bigger message for the Panthers during the annual fan appreciation day.
"The fans showed us they have expectations," Rivera said after Saturday's two-hour practice. "That gave us a little bit of energy to our players. The enthusiasm, the effort we got in return was good."
Newton, Carolina's second-year quarterback, was the star of the show, drawing the biggest cheers from the estimated 22,000 fans.
His biggest came on a short-yardage drill, with Newton dropping back to pass, then tucking the ball and running untouched into the end zone.
But the Panthers' defense also showed off a little, with three players — rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly, rookie safety D.J. Campbell and free-agent cornerback Nate Ness — getting interceptions.