My path to the pros

Panthers QB Cam Newton recalls the days before he got paid to play.

Updated: June 26, 2013, 1:58 PM ET
By Carmen R. Thompson | ESPN The Magazine

The beginning

I played all kinds of sports growing up, but I started football earliest. I was 7 and my whole rec career, I was the youngest but the biggest. People even asked to see my birth certificate! Then, around age 9, I played baseball too. I played center field because I loved Ken Griffey Jr. I really admired him. I was always a pretty good athlete, so my coach would shuffle me around to third base or shortstop, which was fine with me. This was when the Braves were good, ...

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