By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Minicamp ended two weeks ago. Training camp doesn’t open for another month. For many players, that window offers the opportunity for a rare vacation.
While Cam Newton will certainly be enjoying some leisure this month, he is also putting in work.
Newton posted photos to Instagram on Monday, in which he’s taking snaps and training on the Georgia Tech practice field in Atlanta. Newton is working with quarterback coach George Whitfield Jr. — a self-proclaimed “QB engineer” — in the photos.
Newton’s worked with Whitfield since 2011, so their relationship is deep. On Whitfield’s Instagram story, he asked Newton how he deals with the haters.
“So much hating, so many people with opinions for all kinds of purposes, whether they’re paid or unpaid,” Whitfield said. “How do you process that?”
Newton was ready for that question.
“Simple,” Newton said. “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. 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.”
Newton was also asked to explain his thought process when he is pursuing a goal.
“You gotta visualize yourself already there. Get your mental thought of being in that moment and taking your place there,” Newton answered. “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.”
For Newton, he’ll be spending the forthcoming six months to once again fight for his NFL career. It was precisely one year ago on this date, actually, when news broke that Newton was signing with New England. After being released by the Panthers — the team that drafted him with the No. overall pick in 2011 — in March, Newton was left without an NFL job for 86 nights.
While Newton proved that he can stay healthy for an entire NFL season and be extremely effective as a ball carrier, his passing statistics weren’t at an NFL-caliber level. A part of that had to do with the personnel around him, of course, but the result of the 2020 season was another winter with limited interested parties in acquiring his services. The Patriots offered him another one-year deal, which gives him one more chance to declare his spot as an NFL starting quarterback.
The addition of Mac Jones as a first-round pick certainly adds some intrigue to that equation, too. But regardless of the drafting of Jones and the impressive offseason work from the rookie, Newton seems to once again be focused on proving what he believes he can prove on the football field this fall. At 32 years old, and with the experiences of the past few seasons, he knows he might not get another opportunity like the one he has in front of him.