Judging from Cam Newton’s recent Instagram activity, the star quarterback appears to be a man on a mission.
Nate Burleson wants Newton to harness that mindset and not look back.
Newton experienced a pretty sharp fall from grace over the past few seasons as he dealt with multiple injuries. He saw his Panthers tenure in mid-March after nine seasons with Carolina and waited over three months before latching on with a new team. The 2015 NFL MVP, who turned 32 back in May, was forced to settle for a veteran-minimum contract.
As Newton sets to embark on his first season with the New England Patriots, Burleson believes the three-time Pro Bowl selection should ditch his fun-loving nature and fully embrace the chip on his shoulder.
“…I said some time ago that this was going to be a different Cam because he’s been through the ups and downs of the NFL and I’m talking about from an emotional perspective,” Burleson said Monday on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football. “When Cam first got in the league, he was like a kid during his first audition. He wanted to wow everybody. He was smiling, he was dancing. He was doing everything he could to make everybody happy. Not only his team, but every time he scored, he took the football and gave it to a kid. Cam was that guy and then all of a sudden he started being doubted and people started questioning him, whether he still could do it. All of a sudden, you realize that the world’s gonna love you, but as soon as it turns, they’re gonna hate you even quicker. Now Cam has seen himself become a little bit of the bad guy. When you realize you can be the bad guy and still kick butt in the NFL, it’s empowering.
“…So, for me, I do feel like Cam Newton is in a space right now that he should stay in. Don’t become old Cam where you’re trying to impress everybody. Forget that dude, bury that dude. Put that guy in a casket. Right now, live in this space, because this type of motivation will take you places you’ve never been and that place possibly is a Super Bowl champion. If you do that, Cam, everybody is going to shut up.”
It’s easy to get excited about the potential of Newton in New England, but talk of him leading the team to a Super Bowl is premature. Newton first needs to win the starting quarterback job, which isn’t a guarantee despite Jarrett Stidham’s inexperience.