There evidently was a method to the madness of Cam Newton playing through injuries last season. Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton has been working off to the side this week while his teammates take part in voluntary offseason workouts.

Newton played the last four games of the 2016 season with a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder and had surgery three weeks ago. Had Newton sat out those last four games, he could have had surgery sooner and been a full participant in the Panthers’ practice sessions this week.

If he had it to do over again, Newton says he might have shut it down. But he doesn’t seem to regret playing those last four games even though the Panthers were out of playoff contention.

“Was it smart? People may say it wasn’t, but at the end of the day, I think the bigger picture was I’m one of the leaders on this team,” Newton told the team’s website. “I just want to set a good standard that, listen, the team comes first and I’m just going to put myself in position to try to lead this team as much as possible.”

Newton completed 48 percent of his passes in those last four games with five touchdown passes and six interceptions. The Panthers finished the season 6-10 a year after reaching the Super Bowl.

Newton is scheduled to start throwing in late June and is on track to be ready for training camp. He’s cutting it awfully close. Just like everyday workers are better off using their sick days when they’re sick and not spreading their illness to co-workers, Newton might have been better off calling it a season when he hurt his shoulder. That way, he could be out there right now establishing a rhythm with the rest of the offense.

This article first appeared on The Sports Daily and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Cam Newton
TEAMS: Carolina Panthers
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