Cam Newton told to be tattoo-free

Updated: August 25, 2011, 4:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cam Newton has the potential to become the face of the Carolina Panthers franchise. So before the team drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick, owner Jerry Richardson wanted answers to some questions -- including the quarterback's physical appearance.

In a recent interview on "The Charlie Rose Show" on PBS, the 75-year-old Richardson recounted a conversation he had with the 22-year-old Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback on April 4 in which he asked Newton if he had any tattoos or piercings.

When Newton replied "No sir, I don't have any," Richardson told Rose he told the quarterback: "Good. We want to keep it that way."

Richardson first revealed his conversation with Newton in a Charlotte Observer interview in the spring after the quarterback was drafted. The April 4 meeting came just weeks after the team had signed tight end Jeremy Shockey, who has several tattoos.

Richardson
Richardson
Newton
Newton

"I'm not a choirboy. I've never said I was. And I don't want a roster of 53 choirboys," he told the newspaper in April. "I told Jeremy Shockey, 'Don't change your personality. It'll be good for the team. I could do without the tattoos, though."

In "The Charlie Rose Show" interview, Richardson also said that Newton said he was thinking about growing out his hair. Richardson said he responded, "I think you have a very nice haircut."

When Charlie Rose told Richardson he sounded like Vince Lombardi, the Panthers owner responded: "I think I sound reasonable."

Richardson, a former teammate of Johnny Unitas with the Baltimore Colts and the first ex-NFL player since George Halas to own a team, was awarded the Panthers franchise in 1993.

Newton, who is competing with Jimmy Clausen for the team's starting quarterback job, is slated to start Thursday night's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.