Panthers rookie QB Newton on pace for Pro Bowl trip

Everyone agrees that Carolina Panthers Cam Newton is having an outstanding rookie season.

But is it enough to warrant a Pro Bowl selection? No rookie QB has reached such heights since Dan Marino in 1983.

Newton is currently third in the NFC in fan voting at his position, trailing Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and New Orleans’ Drew Brees. The top three vote-getters will play in the Pro Bowl.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes Newton is deserving of the third spot ahead of such veteran signal-callers such as Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan, and not just based on numbers alone.

“I think he’s deserving, I really do,” Rivera told the media on Thursday. “In light of everything he’s gone through I think the young man has proven himself. … But I do believe his work this year speaks for itself and speaks to what we’ve done offensively and as a team I think the young man has been tremendous.”

Newton has completed 270 of his 452 for 3,573 and 15 touchdowns and rushed 107 times for 554 yards and 13 TDs. He has already established an NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a season (13) and he is 167 yards away from breaking Peyton Manning’s rookie passing mark.

Newton is currently roughly 57,000 votes ahead of Detroit’s Matthew Stafford in voting among NFC quarterbacks, but he could still make the squad even if he slips to fourth.

Because of the new format that sees the Pro Bowl played the week before the Super Bowl instead of the traditional week after, the QB that makes the big game is unable to participate in the Pro Bowl. Rodgers and Brees have represented the NFC in the past two Super Bowls.

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