The Get with Morgan Fogarty: Cam Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – What a difference a year makes. Cam Newton is now healthy. He has a college degree. A playoff win under his belt. And a new outlook on life after that December car crash. WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty asked Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, “How often do you think about that car accident?” Newton says, “It’s a constant reminder. I wear this bracelet on my wrist, from the hospital, and I haven’t taken it off since. So that’s a daily reminder for me to have that reset button or that conscientious symbol, you know, don’t take life for granted.”

Newton will finish his rookie contract this season, his fifth in the league. His salary will be just shy of $14.7 million. Newton celebrated his 26th birthday last week. Fogarty asked him, “What would 26-year-old Cam, what advice would you give rookie Cam?” He says, “Oh, wow. Everything is a learning experience. When I first came into this league, I wanted instant grits. Instant gratification. After talking to so many people, the thing for longevity is delayed gratification.”

Newton says he’s also learning how to lead by watching his teammates. He says, “So much of leadership is being a good follower as well. And I look forward to hearing Thomas Davis speak. Watching how Ryan Kalil approaches the game. As well as Greg Olsen, (who) gets after it every day at practice. When I see those type of things each and every day, it makes me a better person (and say to myself) ‘Man, let me stop feeling sorry for myself and my nagging injuries and say ya know what, I gotta do better. I gotta become that leader that I’m supposed to be.'”

Fogarty says, “You have been called the NFL’s greatest talent as well as the NFL’s greatest unknown. Do you agree with that?” Newton says, “Absolutely not.” And, “I say this with the most humility, but I don’t think nobody has ever been who I’m trying to be. Nobody has the size, nobody has the speed, nobody has the arm strength, nobody had the intangibles that I’ve had. I’m not saying I’m the one-on-one type of person that this league will never see again. No, I’m not saying that, hear me out. I’m just saying that so much of my talents have not been seen in one person.”

Newton also has a talent for making tongues wag with his fashion choices. He wore a bright red jacket and white pants combo at the Preakness this weekend as he carried a woman across the muddy track. The lavender suit jacket, velvet loafers and capri pants he wore after losing to the Steelers last season were particularly polarizing. Fogarty asked, “You get a lot of attention for your clothes. Good, bad, indifferent. Why is fashion so important to you?” Newton says, “It makes me give my touch on life. It’s just another way of expressing myself. Expressing my flavor, what I like, what I don’t like. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have my own touch.” Fogarty said, “Do you pay attention to the comments or ever regret, ‘Oh, I wish I hadn’t worn that because it was so distracting?'” Newton replied with a smile, “Absolutely not. If you thought that was intriguing, just wait to see this year!”

Fogarty asked, “What is your relationship with Mr. Richardson?” Newton replied, “Unbelievable. Unbelievable. He is a father figure to so many, to me, a good friend to me, but as a person I respect and trust. I will always be humbled and appreciate him for giving me a chance. When I talk to him, it becomes even more comfortable why I am grateful to have been drafted by the Panthers. Because no matter what people may say or think, Mr. Richardson took a chance on me that others didn’t believe in me at the time. With him being the owner and last say, he did take a chance on me and I’m trying to give him everything and more on my end of the bargain.”

Newton is entering his contract year and stands to become the highest paid player in the NFL.

This interview first aired May 19th, 2015 on WCCB News @ Ten.