Former Jets QB Greg McElroy says Cam Newton 'quit' on Panthers

Former New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy, best remembered for his out-of-nowhere criticism of the team's "corrupt" locker room chemistry after the 2011 season, unloaded Tuesday on a different target -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

McElroy, speaking on SiriusXM Radio, said Newton "quit" on his team for refusing to jump on his own fumble in the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. McElroy, retired from football, is an analyst for the SEC Network.

It also should be noted that McElroy played at Alabama, while Newton played at Auburn. So there's that, although McElroy insisted the intense SEC rivalry had no bearing on his comments.

Anyway, McElroy started off by tweaking Newton for his postgame sulking, which has sparked nationwide debate.

"I have big issues with the way Cam handled himself not only on the field, but in the postgame as well," McElroy said. "If you're going to act like Superman and call yourself Superman, well, you better be able to answer the tough questions. He wasn't able to do so."

McElroy went on to say that Newton's behavior was blown out of proportion because he believes the self-important media took it as a personal affront -- an interesting comment coming from someone who now calls himself a member of the media.

"I don't have as much of a problem with the postgame press conference as a lot of people do," he said. "I think the media, at times, feels as though they're more important than the game itself. And you know what? If he doesn't want to partake in the press conference, then I don't care about that. That's fine.

"What I have issues with is the way he did not jump on the fumble after he dropped the ball -- and I know he was getting beat up all game -- but he jumped away from the ball when the ball's on the ground. I have never, not one time in my life, seen a player do that, especially a quarterback. And you know what? His teammates will look at him a little different after that, especially his teammates on the defensive side of the football."

McElroy said he lives in Charlotte and roots for the Panthers.

Referring back to Newton's refusal to dive on the loose ball, McElroy said, "It was as if he had given up. It was a six-point game at that point and he jumped away from it, and I will never get over that.

"I will still root for my Panthers, but I'm going to have big issues with Cam Newton moving forward. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I went to Alabama and he went to Auburn. It has everything to do with the fact that I think he quit on his team, and it was most evident by the way he did not jump on the football."

Too bad McElroy wasn't as explosive on the field as he is in offseason radio interviews; he'd still be playing.