Cam Newton talks combine, trees, father's scandal

Tue, Feb 22

After the year he's had, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton is ready for anything.

In the fall, the NCAA ruled that Newton's father tried to get Mississippi State to pay for him to play there. There was no evidence Newton knew what his father did or that Auburn was involved, so he was allowed to keep playing.

Newton, in his only season at Auburn, completed 185 of 280 passes for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He also ran for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns.

His Tigers won the national title, and he won the Heisman. On Monday, he received the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback. And he's projected by many to be among the top 10 picks in April's NFL draft.

Page 2 caught up with Newton in Atlanta as he was heading home from the airport after getting his award Monday. We had 10 minutes and 10 questions:

1. What have the past few months been like for you, after all that mess involving your father?

It's definitely made me stronger. And that's an understatement. I am closer to a lot of people. Teammates, first off. Coaches. Friends and family. People showed their true identity around me, especially when they came under scrutiny. I've been blessed to have so many good people in my life. Did all this in the fall make me stronger? Of course it did. I look back now and look at all those hard circumstances and I know I can surpass anything.

2. Was there ever a point during the eligibility controversy last season when you thought you might not play again?

There was no doubt in my mind. I have my faith, my religion. I leave it all up to him. I'm a firm believer in that prayer does pay off. There are a lot of people in my corner and they all were praying for my success. They wanted me to be healthy and be able to play football, the sport that I love.

3. So you're going to work out completely at the NFL combine this week. Why?

Me and my father were talking. We all agreed. If you can't perform in front of 80 people to show what kind of power you have in your arm, how can you perform in front of 80,000 screaming fans? This is something I thrived upon. When your best is required, there is no doubt in my mind that I can perform. I just want to go out there and show those doubters.

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