Not that long ago, Cam Newton was one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the NFL. An MVP with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt, Newton’s years have not been as friendly since 2016. With a new team who just lost their GOAT, Newton has a chance to make a comeback. After all, football is the sport he chose over baseball, and the story behind it is fascinating.
Cam Newton’s NFL career
Newton entered the NFL after a successful career in college that took him from Florida to Auburn. As the number one pick overall in the 2011 Draft, the weight of the world was on Newton’s shoulders. The Carolina Panthers wasted no time giving him the keys to the franchise, and Newton showed precisely why he was the surefire pick that year.
Newton had typical struggles as a rookie, including a penchant for throwing the ball into the other team’s hands, but his ability to get the ball down the field by both his arm and his feet made him a nuisance for defenses everywhere. The rookie quarterback was a Pro Bowler after starting every game in his rookie season. He finished the year with 4,051 throwing yards, over 700 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
After a similar second season in the NFL, Newton cleaned up his game for year three. The Panthers ran a more economical offense, and Newton capitalized with 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 3,379 passing yards, but it was his 2015 season that changed everything. That year, Newton led the Panthers to a Super Bowl appearance after a 15-1 record 3,857-yard, 35-touchdown 10-interception season. The Panthers lost the Super Bowl.
Since then, Newton struggled to rebuild that glory, but it wasn’t until 2019 that injuries were a significant concern. Newton never missed more than two games his first eight years, but his final year in Carolina made many questions about how long he had in his career.
The great downfall
While Newton didn’t miss much time before 2019, it doesn’t mean that he was healthy. Former teammate Mike Tolbert accused the Panthers of mishandling his injuries for years, according to Sporting News.
“They’ve been doing him wrong timing-wise for the past two or three years if you ask me. It goes back to his shoulder surgery,” Tolbert said. “Everyone knew his shoulder was messed up in the middle of the year two years ago. But they wait until offseason gets ready to start to have shoulder surgery. Makes no sense. Timing’s off.”
Newton played in just two games in 2019 before a pedal lisfranc sprain took him out for the year. After getting cut by the team, Newton has new life in New England, although his status as a starter remains in question. However, with all of these injury concerns, one can’t help but think about Newton’s younger days, when he quit baseball over fears of injury.
Why did Newton quit baseball?
Football wasn’t Newton’s first love. He had dreams of becoming a baseball star when he was a teenager, but as his opponents got better, he had a change of heart. Newt He spoke about his baseball dreams with ESPN, stating that his baseball dreams began to turn to nightmares as the competition got more fierce.
“I quit baseball at 14 because I was afraid of the pitches. The kids started getting better and throwing faster, and it would’ve hurt getting hit by that ball, so I stopped playing. That left a void.”
Newton eventually tried basketball before discovering that his new love was football. He dedicated himself to the new sport, using the same toughness that got him fouled out of basketball games to be an elite quarterback. With injuries plaguing his professional career, it shows that while his concerns in baseball were legitimate, football also took its toll on the former MVP.