NFL

Cam Newton Still Draws Inspiration from Randall Cunningham

With one rushing yard Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, Cam Newton will pass one of his childhood heroes. Newton enters the game tied with Randall Cunningham for second place on the all-time rushing list among quarterbacks. The New England Patriots quarterback always looked up to the former Philadelphia Eagle as a player and said he still draws inspiration from him.

Cam Newton Thriving in New England

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The biggest question for the New England Patriots coming into the 2020 season was their quarterback position. Tom Brady bolted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after 20 seasons with the Patriots, leaving the team with a gaping hole. Cam Newton was signed well after training camp started, triggering more questions.

Was Newton completely healthy? How would he adapt to New England’s system? Would he be able to work with Bill Belichick. Two games into the season and those questions have been answered.

Newton is thriving in New England. He’s become a fan favorite and he’s generated some excitement on and off the field with his athleticism and his personality. Newton has completed better than 71% of his passes and has a league-leading four rushing touchdowns.

Cam Newton about to pass Randall Cunningham for rushing yards

With 47 rushing yards in last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Cam Newton tied former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham for second place on the all-time list for rushing yardage by a quarterback. Newton actually passed him by a yard in the game, but lost one yard on the final play, leaving them tied. Both quarterbacks have 4,928 rushing yards in their careers.

Cunningham is a fan of Newton and always has been since Newton was the top player selected in the 2011 NFL draft. “I remember when he was first coming into the league, I got the chance to meet him and we exchanged numbers. I’ve been fond of him all this time,” Cunningham said in a phone interview with ESPN. “Cam is a great player. He is not only a great passing quarterback, but he is a great athlete and a great running quarterback.”

Their styles are similar, although Cunningham’s running ability was based more on finesse and speed, while Newton is more power and speed. “I like the way Cam plays. He plays with a righteous anger,” Cunningham said. “When he goes out, and you get in the way, he’s going to let you feel that 250 (pounds) or whatever he’s playing at now. That’s the only way to go out there.”

Newton has always been a fan of Cunningham

While Cam Newton will likely snap his second-place tie in rushing yardage by a quarterback with Randall Cunningham on Sunday, getting to No. 1 will be tough. Michael Vick stands at the top with 6,109 yards. Newton grew up in Atlanta watching Vick. Newton loved to mimic Cunningham while growing up, and he enjoyed watching Vick as well.

“Randall Cunningham is a person who, when I was really getting into football, he was in the latter part of his career,″ said Newton to reporters this week. “The thing about me is growing up in Atlanta, I would dream, I still do dream to this day, I would see Randall Cunningham jump over the line and make people miss and go out there and wing it and make football look so fun.

“I just adopted that into my repertoire and now the person you see on Sunday wearing No. 1 had a lot of inspiration from No. 7 and No. 12, the Michael Vicks of the world, the Randall Cunninghams of the world. I still gain inspiration from how they play and I love it. The greatest thing you find out about your hero, so to speak, is now (Cunningham) being a minister. He’s doing so much good for his community and doing so great with his platform by impacting lives and impacting change.”

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.