Column: Cam Newton at the NFL Combine is the right choice



Michael Moses

Michael Moses

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].

Pro basketball took over mainstream media on Monday night when Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks in a three-team, blockbuster trade, and this past weekend, the NBA All-Star festivities engulfed the sports world.

We’re going to analyze not Anthony, Blake Griffin and the dunk contest, Kobe Bryant’s record tying fourth All-Star game MVP trophy, or LeBron James and his triple-double performance.

This player, though, was in Los Angeles for the All-Star game.

He just wasn’t in season.

Cam Newton made headlines for the right reasons this time.

Auburn University Tigers quarterback and this year’s Heisman Trophy award winner announced earlier in the week that he would be a full participant in this year’s NFL Combine, which starts Friday.

The news comes as somewhat of a surprise to most NFL insiders and general managers.

Typically, highly touted quarterbacks choose against throwing and running at the combine.

They prefer to do so at private workouts with individual NFL teams (Missouri quarterback and potential top 10 pick Blaine Gabbert is going with this route).

“I want to be transparent throughout this whole thing, I don’t have nothing to hide, and I’m a competitor,” said Newton while accepting the Davey O’Brien Award that recognizes the nation’s top quarterback this past Monday night. “I’m going to go out here and do what I’ve been working on this whole time and preparing for this moment right now.”

This might be Newton’s best decision in these early stages of his career.

It shows that Newton doesn’t believe he is “too good” for the NFL Combine.

It shows that Newton knows he has to prove himself to the NFL scouts, despite completing 66 percent of his passes for 30 touchdowns and only having 7 interceptions during his 14 career starts at Auburn.

Newton will be reminding people of his skills and further proving to general managers that he should be the first quarterback taken, while players like Gabbert come off as shy and conservative when skipping out on such workouts.

It would be easy, even understandable, that the national champion would not take part in the combine.

After all, Newton took the college football world by storm.

In addition to his 2,854 yards through the air, he also ran for 1,473 and 20 touchdowns. Newton even caught a touchdown pass. His 51 total trips to the end zone accounted for 306 total points.

That’s more than 41 Division-I offenses had this past year (Kent State had 256).

“I just feel like if I have an opportunity to speak with a person or let a person evaluate me as a person and not something that has been stereotyped, I think their perception about me will change,” he said.

Some say Cam Newton is cocky. Some say he cares about himself. And I say that’s a bunch of bull.

Cocky is a kid who thinks he’s bigger than the NFL Combine. Thinks he has nothing to prove.

Newton? He’ll be there.

Cocky is a kid who runs to the locker room after wins (a la Pryor).

Newton? He jumps into the stands after victories, hugs fans and celebrates with them. He doesn’t run into the locker room, he doesn’t shy away from the media, he doesn’t treat himself like he’s a superstar.

He plays with such passion and is overly personable. This is a quarterback, a superstar who actually is smiling in his team photo.

No mug shot, tough-guy look here.

This may seem small, but hell, Jamarcus Russell was looked at as a thug. Look where that got him. There’s more to the game itself, and that’s being a good teammate and person — off the field, especially.

“It’s just as important, if not (more) important than the play on the field,” Newton said about the interview process Monday night.

Look no further than how he conducts himself in the public eye. Cam Newton is the real deal, on and off the field. He will only solidify those statements at the NFL combine — not hurt them.