- Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick criticized Cam Newton’s leadership and maturity in 2019
- Vick wasn’t pleased with Newton’s fashion choices while injured
- It appears the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner may finally be taking the ex-Falcons star’s advice to heart
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton isn’t for everyone, and it’s been that way since he first broke out the ‘Superman’ celebration on an NFL stage in 2011.
Although few could argue against the 2015 NFL MVP’s on-field prowess during his prime, plenty took issue with his fashion sense or press conference demeanor. The anti-Newton mob briefly included Michael Vick, once a Pro Bowl quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons and no stranger to the NFL’s spotlight.
Michael Vick criticized Cam Newton’s leadership and maturity in 2019
Much like Newton, Vick entered the NFL as a first overall pick after an electric college career. He battled the ups and downs of trying to guide an NFC South team through a difficult rebuild as a dual-threat and personable quarterback.
Vick, obviously, hit rock bottom when he served nearly two years in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. At least through November 2021, Newton’s lowest point came when injuries ended his 2019 season after two games.
In September of that year, Vick — who has grown into a voice of reason over the last decade — ripped Newton on FS1’s Speak for Yourself. The Virginia Tech product criticized the veteran quarterback, then out with a foot injury, for bringing unwanted attention to himself with his colorful fashion choices.
“You got everybody watching, Cam. Including your teammates. This is not a fashion show. This is football. Throw the suit on. The hats [were] cool — got away with that.Cam Newton
Vick established he still respected Newton for “what he does as a football player” and his love of fashion. However, the ex-Falcons star said the Panthers quarterback, then in his ninth season, needed to change his ways.
“It’s a different demeanor, a different approach you gotta take as far as your appearance and everything, man,” Vick said. “Everything plays a factor at the quarterback position.”
Newton showed no intentions of changing himself or how he approaches life
Again, we have to note Vick made those comments in Newton’s ninth NFL season. By that point, the only person who could make the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner change his ways was Newton himself.
Thus far, the veteran signal-caller hasn’t rushed to adopt a more subdued or traditional personality. He brought his unique fashion choices and trademark ‘Superman’ move to the New England Patriots last season, and few batted an eye.
However, Newton clearly could have used Vick’s expertise when he referenced his “aura” after the Patriots released him earlier this year. He believed the team cut him not solely because of his then-unvaccinated status but because he felt he’d have been a distraction as a backup.
On the one hand, at least we finally had a player willing to admit they felt he’d have been a distraction. But, one can only wonder how Newton would have approached the situation if he’d learned from Vick and heard him out.
No teams signed Newton until the Panthers called, and that was weeks after he announced he’d been vaccinated. Could the “aura” comments have been a significant reason why he reamined on the open market?
Newton did show a more mature side after rejoining the Panthers
When the Patriots cut Newton and he foolishly cited his “aura,” it made sense to believe his NFL career had reached its end. Shows what we know.
Newton is back and trying to convey that he’s grateful for the newest opportunity. He said the idea of any bad blood between him and the Panthers, who cut him in 2020, is “irrelevant.”
“This time has been therapeutic to my overall growth as a person and just me realizing that I have to start maximizing each and every opportunity in my life,” said Newton, who reportedly signed a one-year deal worth up to $10 million.
Maybe Newton has finally learned from what Vick tried telling him two years ago. If he can turn that changed mentality into touchdowns, he might find himself quickly going from free agent to playoff starter.