Buccaneers Panthers Football (copy)

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has missed practice all week.

Cam Newton missed another day of practice today, which was expected. With each passing day it appears more likely that the Panthers will head to Arizona without their leader.

Then again, the last time we saw their leader he was wearing a scarf.

Newton has inflamed the fan base again, sparking outrage from Carolina’s most vocal supporters and, of course, his many vocal haters.

Few in football can enrage the masses the way Carolina’s quarterback can.

Injured once again, and reportedly in a walking boot this week, Newton’s act is wearing thin, even among those who once cheered for him and praised his athletic abilities and waited for him to lead the Panthers to greatness.

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton after the loss to the Bucs on Sept. 13.

Now comes word that he has his own tailor, apparently one who convinced him he would look good with a scarf tied around his head.

The social media reaction has been hilarious for those into social media reaction.

For Panthers fans, it’s been nothing short of embarrassing.

Newton is heading over a cliff now, taking the Panthers with him. He seemed to sense that after the Tampa Bay loss, the ninth loss in the last 10 games dating to last season.

“I have to be better," Newton said in the bizarre post-game garb. "No matter what physical condition I'm in. No matter what, foot, shoulder, I didn't get the job done, and it's frustrating. I wish I could say something other than that, but that's the fact. I'm a brutally honest person with people, and I'm a brutally honest person with myself. And it's time for me to look myself in the mirror and do some real soul-searching.”

Newton said the pressure to win is taking a toll on him.

“Sometimes you find yourself in a blender, and the only person who can get yourself out is yourself,” he said.

He’s always been odd. We know that. But this is the guy who put the entire franchise on his back in 2015, carrying a wave of fans, too, against withering criticism from NFL fans who didn’t appreciate his antics.

And there were racial overtones to it.

Carolina fans had his back. The team had his back, even as his body broke down and teams came after him like they did no other quarterback. Eventually he dealt with arm, shoulder, ankle, back, throwing hand and now foot injuries.

And for the first time since he came to Carolina with the first pick in the 2011 draft, the fans are starting to bail.

The call-in shows have been brutal. And NFL writers across the league are now doing research into his lack of arm strength, numbers that suggest he’s done or at the least a different player than he was two years ago.

He’s no longer a threat to run, and if Newton can’t run, he is indeed done. And so are the Panthers, who are built around his legs, not his arm.

If he’s indeed in a blender and can indeed get himself out himself, then there’s hope. But if he’s what we see now, Cam Newton’s future as Carolina’s leader is coming to a close.

Fans sense that now. And they’re fed up with his fashion sense, too. They’re wondering aloud just who that was hidden beneath the scarf.

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Contact Ed Hardin at 336-373-7069, and follow @Ed_Hardin on Twitter.

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