Superman's cape has been removed as the Panthers have placed Cam Newton on injured reserve. Amid the speculation of just how severe his foot injury was, it was clear that the injury was holding him back from being the player that we're accustomed to seeing. A tough blow for a franchise who's use to seeing the bright smile of their franchise quarterback infuse infectious hope throughout a team that has struggled to find a face of the franchise player under-center prior to that point.
There are few players in the league that mean more to their respective teams than what Newton means to the Panthers. Nine seasons with a stadium full of No. 1 jerseys, Superman celebrations, and game balls given out along the wall straddling near the back lines of the end zone at Bank of America Stadium.
During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney described the difficulty of the situation and what went behind the decision to ultimately place Newton on IR.
"For the past seven weeks, Cam has diligently followed a program of rest and rehab and still is experiencing pain in his foot," Hurney said. "He saw two foot specialists last week who agreed that he should continue that path prescribed by the team's medical staff, and that it likely will take significant time for the injury to fully heal."
In his absence, backup quarterback Kyle Allen has kept the offense and teams postseason aspirations afloat by compiling a 4-1 record. The result of his output has raised an unforeseen question of if we've seen the last of the heroic player that has been the face of the organization since the moment he was drafted with the top overall selection in 2011.
A question that many thought would never arise because of just how much he's meant to the city, team, coaches, and his teammates, but with an expiring contract following the 2020 season and if the team decides to move on from him prior to that point, it would free up $19.1 million in cap space.
It's hard to fathom anyone else under-center for the Panthers for the foreseeable future, but it's completely fair to assess the situation in Carolina and wonder if we've seen the last of Cam Newton donning the black, blue, and silver in Charlotte.