The New England Patriots‘ Cam Newton was in the news most of Sunday because of an exchange he had with an unruly teenager at a 7-on-7 tournament. However, Newton had a far more compelling conversation with adults that went live on the I Am Athlete YouTube channel on Monday morning.
Newton sat down with NFL greats Chad Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Fred Taylor.
— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) February 21, 2021
Newton discussed a variety of issues with the cast, including former Patriots’ tight end Aaron Hernandez.
The name of the now-deceased and convicted killer is taboo, but Newton spoke on Hernandez, whom he was briefly teammates with as a part of the Florida Gators back in 2007-08. Both men were a part of the Gators’ recruiting class back in 07.
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Newton: “He Was Fun-Loving, and He Just Wanted to Make it to the League”
Most people know Hernandez as a monster, and it’s because of the horrific details of the murder that sent him to prison for life in 2015. Hernandez committed suicide in his cell in 2017 just days after being acquitted of two other murders.
Even with such troubles and a sad and destructive future, Newton remembered the positives about the person he’d known from college.
“I saw the younger him,” Newton said. “The way he’s portrayed as a villain, that’s not him. Don’t get me wrong, in all respects of what happened, there were bodies that were damaged and I’m not denying what was done was bad. But I knew a beautiful soul. He was fun-loving and he just wanted to make it to the league.”
That might be a challenging take to absorb about a person who has committed such a heinous crime. Still, it appears Newton chose not to hop on board the train of people who batter the memory of a man who is no longer around to be held accountable for his transgressions.
Newton’s Name Should Remain a Hot One Through the Spring
While he won’t officially become a free agent until March, the media and fans will mention Newton’s name consistently over the next few months.
While 2020 didn’t go the way he would have liked, he will be in the mix of free-agent quarterbacks as several teams look to retool, rebuild, or restructure the sport’s most important position.
The Patriots are among the teams who will have some decisions to make at quarterback. Once free agency begins, the only quarterbacks the team will have under contract are Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala. Neither has the experience to step in as the starter in 2021. That’s part of the reason some believe Newton could be headed back to the Patriots to improve on the disappointing 2020 season.
It seems Newton would be open to that, but if things go in a different direction, there is a chance he could be elsewhere. If Newton does move on, he’ll be missed if for nothing else: honesty and accessibility.
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