Buckle up for the Cam Newton revenge tour.
After spending almost all of last season sidelined due to injury, the 2015 NFL MVP is salivating at the chance to replace longtime Patriots quarterback Tom Brady while exacting vengeance on the teams that rejected and “disrespected” him during free agency.
“We have to talk about the elephant in the room: You know who you’re coming after,” Newton said of his celebrated predecessor during a roundtable discussion on Odell Beckham’s YouTube channel. “I’m like ‘Yeah, great.’ What [Brady] was, what he is, is great. Needs no even talking about it. But one thing about it though: Coach [Josh] McDaniels, you’re able to call some stuff that you ain’t ever been able to call now.
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“You’re getting a dog. You’re getting one of these ticked off dogs, too. And I’m looking at the schedule and I’m like, ‘Who we playing? That team passed on me. Okay, that team passed on me. They could’ve came and got me.’”
Beckham and Newton were also joined by Falcons running back Todd Gurley II and retired Giants receiver Victor Cruz and discussed various topics, including the NFL’s restart plan, the Black Lives Matter movement and the offseason.
“I had to count the days how long I was unemployed,” Newton said between cigar puffs. “It was 86 nights — that’s almost three months — and I’m going through it and I’m like early on, people are going and getting signed and I’m looking at them and I’m like, ‘You can’t say I’m old because people older than me [are] getting signed. You can’t say it’s about injury because people who were more injured than me are getting signed. You can’t say the talent.’”
Newton, 31, has battled multiple injuries throughout his nine-year career, including an ankle injury that has lingered since college and was surgically repaired in 2014, concussions, a torn rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder that has required surgery twice and, most recently, a Lisfranc fracture he suffered during the third preseason game in 2019, the surgery from which he is still recovering. He is expected to compete with 23-year-old fellow Auburn product Jarrett Stidham for the starting role.
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“I’ll be the first person to tell you: These last two years I haven’t been putting on the best film on tape. That’s just honest,” said the ailing signal-caller, who appeared in 14 games in 2018 and two games in 2019. “But there’s other people who put out s–tty film out there that are getting picked up. I’m feeling disrespected, because every team at one point had to say, ‘OK fellas, Cam Newton, what do we think? Ehh, pass.’ And that’s the disrespect I feel.””
Newton’s health and inconsistency prompted the Panthers to move on and sign Teddy Bridgewater in March, and while he certainly harbors resentment against the teams that passed over him during free agency, it seems he has a special sore spot for the team that jilted him in the first place.
“I feel vindicated to some degree but I’m searching, I’m aiming at necks all year because at one point, I did feel and I still do feel like a part of me is left because I gave an organization everything,” he added. “What I gave, I don’t think other people were willing to give, and it was at times when I knew I wasn’t supposed to be playing, but off of the mere fact of Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith — I couldn’t give up on them.”