By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton has still not received an NFL job offer since getting released by the Patriots at the end of August. But he has gained some clarity.

Newton shared a photo on Instagram on Thursday which showed him sitting at the base of a tree in the woods. It’s a reflective pose, and the accompanying caption is in line with that state of mind.

Newton quoted comedian Conan O’Brien for the caption. The quote comes from O’Brien’s commencement address at Dartmouth College in 2011, when he was discussing how he reached his career goal of hosting “The Tonight Show,” only to lose that job eight months later.

Here’s the quote shared by Newton: “The beauty is that through disappointment, you can gain clarity. And with clarity comes conviction and true originality.”

And here’s that quote in a larger context from O’Brien’s speech:

So at the age of 47, after 25 years of obsessively pursuing my dream, that dream changed. For decades in show business, the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host ‘The Tonight Show.’ It was the holy grail. And like many people, I thought that achieving that goal would define me as successful. But that is not true.

No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you.

In 2000, I told graduates to not be afraid to fail. And I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment, you can gain clarity. And with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

It’s easy to see why the message resonates with Newton. His career rapidly progressed from being the No. 1 overall pick to being the NFL MVP in a near-undefeated season that ended in a Super Bowl loss. Just four years later, he was released by the team that drafted him, a place where he had been the face of the franchise for nearly a decade. He was unwanted by most of the league until the summer, and then he played an underwhelming season for the Patriots. Now, he’s once again unwanted by NFL teams.

What this leads to for Newton is unclear. He’s stated numerous times since the end of last season that he believes that he belongs to be among the 32 NFL starting quarterbacks. Thus far, those 32 teams disagree with him.

“What’s next for me? I’m gonna keep it brief: You gotta make it make sense to me,” Newton said in his online video last week. “Listen, I’m gonna remove all doubt. I said it once and I’ll say it again: It’s not 32 guys out there that’s better than me, bro. And let’s be honest. And out of those 32, if given the opportunity that I can show what I can do, it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. … Do I have a lot of football left in me? Absolutely.”