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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Quarterback Cam Newton plans to take more ownership of the Carolina Panthers offence without his top four receivers from last season. Steve Smith, the franchises all-time leading receiver, was released and free agents Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon signed with other teams, putting more pressure on Newton to take more of a leadership role entering his fourth season. "Im excited to take this challenge to be this teams leader," Newton said. "More has been given to me on my plate (and) be a leader of men." Newton spoke Tuesday at the team stadium during a break from off-season condition workouts, his first extensive interview since the Panthers lost to the San Francisco 49ers 23-10 in the NFC divisional playoffs in January. Newtons left foot remains in a walking boot after having ankle surgery on March 19. He said he was "surprised" when he learned the Panthers had released Smith, one of the teams most popular players. "If you were in the 704 (area code), you were caught by surprise," Newton said. "Everybody in the Carolinas was surprised, including myself." He said he still communicates with Smith, and hopes the 34-year-old receiver finds success with the Baltimore Ravens. But Newton emphasized the need to move forward as a team. He said hes excited about working with a "hungry" group of receivers that includes Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood. Its possible the Panthers will add a wide receiver or two in the NFL draft next month. "We have a lot of guys that are hungry and ready to prove something in this league," Newton said, "and thats what I want to do as well." Newton was selected to the Pro Bowl last season after leading the Panthers to a 12-4 record and the NFC South championship. But concerns linger over how long it will take Newton to develop chemistry with a new group of wide receivers, especially considering hes not expected to practice until training camp. But an upbeat Newton downplayed any concerns. "We will have plenty of time to develop chemistry with receivers," Newton said. "Just because its organized team functions doesnt mean that we cant (also) meet on our own." Newton has spent much of the off-season working on his college degree from Auburn, but returned Monday to Charlotte so hed have a chance to meet his new teammates. "The first time you interact with a person you can tell by two or three minutes if the relationship is going to work," Newton said. "With my talk with those guys it was great. Everybody is excited. Everybody is ready to accept the challenge. Everybody is trying to find and know their role so they can perfect it." Pro Bowl centre Ryan Kalil believes Newton will continue to develop into a great leader. "The guys who I have always looked up to are the guys who do it on a daily basis and lead by example," Kalil said. "Even though Cam is somebody who likes to get in front of the mike and think hes a lot more entertaining than he really is, he does a great job. He works hard day in and day out in the classroom and on the field." Newton said watching his teammates work out made him eager to get back. Hes never missed a game and its rare when hes skipped a practice -- or any type of event -- since joining the Panthers as the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft. "I felt like that lost kid that was in detention and cant go to recess," said Newton, with a laugh. Newton isnt certain when hell start running again. He said the ankle had been bothering him for quite a long time, dating back to his national championship season at Auburn. "It wasnt 100 per cent for a long time," said the former Heisman Trophy winner. "I really didnt know what 100 per cent felt like." Newton said the surgery has afforded him a chance to step back and study more tape and reassess his play. "Its been more helpful for me, mentally," Newton said. "I am always the type of guy that always had to do stuff, workout, workout, workout -- no matter the time or the day. This injury has kind of settled me down, like, How can I get better?" Fake Nike Air Max 90 . You can catch all of the action LIVE on TSN2 at 6pm et/3pm pt. The Heat reached that mark Saturday night when they ruined the Philadelphia 76ers home opener. Cheap Nike Air Max 90 . In the opening game of his fourth-round match at the U.S. Open, the owner of 17 major titles got passed at the net twice, sailed a backhand long, then missed two forehands to get broken. https://www.cheapnikeairmax90china.us/. -- Mike Shanahan gave Robert Griffin III a rest, and may have turned up the pressure on himself, too. Nike Air Max 90 Sale . Now he has a complete game. 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Le Batard, an ESPN host and Miami Herald columnist, said Wednesday he gave his ballot to the website because he detests the "hypocrisy" in the voting process.dddddddddddd Deadspin had offered to pay a voter for a ballot. Le Batard said he insisted there wouldnt be compensation. "I didnt sell anything. Only conditions were that I NOT get anything," he posted on Twitter. Le Batard told Deadspin that "our flawed voting process needs remodeling in a new media world. Besides, every year the power is abused the way Im going to be alleged to abuse it here." "And my final reason: I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral weve made of sports." ' ' '