Wednesday, March 9, 2011
How did Cam Newton do off the field?
By Paul Kuharsky
On Tuesday, as we previewedCam Newton's pro day at Auburn, a scout told us the afternoon would offer a lot of indicators about the quarterback outside of his workout.
Newton assuredly threw better and with more conviction than he had at the combine in Indianapolis. Of course in a more controlled environment scripted for him, he was expected to.
But how did Newton do in the categories that scout pointed to when he said this:
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton performed well on and off the field on Tuesday.
“Cam just needs to be humble and act like one of the guys during his pro day, and not separate himself from the rest of his teammates,” one scout said. “He will do a good job physically during his workout, because that is what he does best. Worst case, he has an entourage, tons of family and makes this day -- Auburn’s pro day -- just about him. This will continue to make people believe he is an individual and not a team guy.”
I searched out two beat writers I knew were at the event. Darin Gantt covers the Panthers (who draft No. 1) and Jim Wyatt covers the Titans (who draft No. 8.)
Both scored Newton high in the humility/entourage/team-guy categories.
“No real entourage to speak of,” Gantt said. “Neither Dad nor [agent] Bus Cook anywhere to be seen. Didn't slip into third person at interviews, talked mostly about work or getting better. Had a running dialogue with [Nick] Fairley at the other end of the field. Seemed to enjoy last chance to hang with guys from college. Was on best behavior, I'd say”
Wyatt said outside of adviser Warren Moon and Newton's quarterback coach, George Whitfield, who ran the workout, Newton was on his own. He mingled with teammates and got pulled to the side for chitchat with people from NFL teams. Only credentialed players, coaches, scouts and media were on the field.
“Most of the time he spent hours watching his teammates do drills and was cheering them on and cutting up with them,” Wyatt said. "I was impressed with how he handled himself on a long day.”
Newton spoke of understanding everyone wanting to know everything about him, and said he’s willing to answer the questions knowing he’s more attractive as an investment the more forthcoming he is.
Encouraging signs? Absolutely. Open for over-interpretation? Sure. Are we participating in that right here? Perhaps.
Here’s Gantt’s story from Auburn. Here’s Wyatt’s, with a nice detail of Newton accidentally mixing up Todd McShay and Mike Mayock.