The NFL has never seen a physical specimen like Cam Newton. Tipping the scales at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds with legit wheels, he looks more like a defensive end than a quarterback. Yet, that same body has suffered tremendous punishment over the years as the face of the Carolina Panthers. As his New England Patriots journey begins, Newton could save his NFL career thanks to a diet that he said made him feel like a rookie again.
Cam Newton couldn’t stay healthy in Carolina
When the Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall in 2011, they probably envisioned multiple Super Bowl titles coming to Carolina. Early on, it looked like the former Auburn star would deliver at least one Lombardi Trophy. Newton’s rare dual-threat skill set made him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He looked solid as a rookie before elevating his game significantly.
At his peak, Newton could conceivably do anything he wanted on the football field. His rocket right arm allowed him to connect on deep balls. His legs gave him the chance to punish defenses that failed to put a spy on him. His 2015 MVP season still ranks as one of the most impressive of all time.
Sadly, though, injuries derailed his once promising career. His throwing shoulder proved particularly problematic. Newton underwent multiple surgeries and headed into the 2019 season with a chip on that surgically-repaired right shoulder.
Unfortunately, a Lisfranc injury limited the former No. 1 pick to just two games. With a new regime on board, the Panthers went for a clean sweep and released Newton in March.
Former MVP will try to resurrect his career with the Patriots
Despite his prolific physical talent and track record of production, Cam Newton got greeted to a silent free-agent market. Even though he clearly outranked some of the other quarterbacks available, he didn’t find a new NFL home until July.
By landing with the Patriots, Newton positioned himself well to resurrect his career. No coach has a better reputation of putting players in a position to succeed better than Bill Belichick. The Hall of Fame head coach took chances on Corey Dillon and Randy Moss. The former carried the Patriots to a Super Bowl title. Moss, of course, set the single-season touchdown record.
For Newton, the upgrade in coaching and team infrastructure represents an obvious win. However, he will never succeed if he can’t stay healthy. And as it turns out, his secret weapon to completing his NFL comeback could be his diet.
Newton’s diet could save his NFL career
Cam Newton has a unique diet approach that most fans wouldn’t associate with an NFL player. The freakishly gifted quarterback went vegan last year as he rehabilitated from offseason shoulder surgery and a sprained foot. And according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots QB will stick with that same eating approach this season.
Last October, Newton said, “It’s not putting certain things in your body that is going to combat your body trying to recover. You want to put things in your body that is going to expedite that whole process.”
Newton, who also said going vegan helped him “feel like a rookie again”, quickly dispelled some false narratives about eating vegan.
“I don’t want people to think you can’t love food being vegan, or there’s not good-tasting food that’s vegan,” he said. “A person may ask, ‘How do you get your protein?’ … You get it in the same way that they get it, know what I’m saying? The more cleaner, more fresher way.”
Consuming fruits and vegetables and staying away from possible inflammatory foods like red meat could certainly help Newton stay healthy. After all, several successful NFL stars like Tyrann Mathieu, Jurell Casey, and even Colin Kaepernick, all switched to the vegan approach.
Ultimately, Cam Newton needs do to whatever he can to avoid the injuries that led to his downfall in Carolina. If pounding fruits and veggies helps him stay healthy and pain-free, then that will only lead to great results for the Patriots. His diet could be the key to saving his career, but it will be up to Newton to make every calorie count when he starts competing on the field.