Cam Newton is a lot of things. New England Patriots starting quarterback; former first-round draft pick; one-time NFL MVP; world-class athlete; entrepreneur. He also is one of the most polarizing players in pro football, a reputation built primarily on media narratives in the aftermath of Super Bowl 50.
Despite Newton being nothing but a model citizen since arriving in New England — and based on reports from Carolina with the Panthers as well — he continues to face his fair share of hate. Earlier this week, the 32-year-old spoke on social media about how he deals with negative backlash.
“Simple. Feed your focus. Feed it. If the hate ain’t in my focus, I don’t feed it. I feed off of it, but I don’t feed it. It’s two different things,” Newton said on an Instagram Q&A shared by his personal quarterback coach, George Whitfield Jr.
“When I sense or when I dwell on hatred, that’s the product that’s gonna come out: rage, anger. But that’s the hatred using me, not me using the hatred. So I want to process that and make that fuel me. I don’t dwell on what a person may say, what this person may say, she say, I just use it to my advantage and I feed what I want it to feed.”
Whitfield Jr. and Newton have been working together at Georgia Tech after the Patriots’ offseason workout program came to an end, and the veteran coach also asked him about pursuing his goals. The passer, who has worked with Whitfield Jr. since preparing to enter the NFL Draft in 2011, stressed the importance of mental strength.
“You gotta visualize yourself already there, “Newton said. “Get your mental thought of being in that moment and taking your place there. And once you get there, find so much distress that you can gutter up and feel comfortable in it. Whenever that is. And that’s how you grind. You know what I’m saying? Just take your mind to that place, stay there, get uncomfortable, and be comfortable with being in that position.”
Heading into this year’s training camp the goal will remain the same for Newton: keeping the starting quarterback position he first earned last summer. While he is the favorite to do that, he will have to fend off rookie Mac Jones.
After a challenging season as New England’s QB1 — Newton arrived late, missed time due to Covid-19, and had to play alongside one of the worst skill position groups in football — the team invested a first-round pick in Jones, who showed plenty of promise during minicamp. Newton, who was re-signed on an incentive-laden one-year deal ahead of free agency, will have to take advantage of his experience in the system to stay ahead of the youngster.