Carolina Panthers colleagues have come out in support of quarterback Cam Newton after their Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos.
Newton fumbled twice during Sunday's 24-10 loss, backing away from his second spill when it appeared he would have a chance to jump on the ball.
The league MVP blamed his hesitance on fear of suffering a leg injury, adding "We didn't lose the game because of that fumble."
"No, we didn't," a nearby Mike Tolbert spontaneously responded to Newton's comment.
While many questioned Newton's effort on the play, not a single member of the Panthers wondered why Newton didn't attempt to recover the loose ball in what was a 16-10 game.
"People are going to dissect things, and that's fine," Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen said Tuesday.
"But if anyone ever wants to question how much Cam cares; if anyone ever wants to question how hard he plays, the sacrifice he makes with his body and the way he plays that position, not only are they uninformed, they've probably never watched us play a down since he's been in the league.
"That narrative for anybody who's seen us is pretty comical."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera accepted Newton's explanation.
"I think he was looking for the rebound," Rivera told Pro Football Talk.
"When that group of guys came diving in, when it ricocheted backwards, he tried to turn and get after the ball. When you look at the circumstances he was looking at, I have no problem with that."