Cam Newton Becoming Panthers' Biggest Star On And Off The Field
Panthers QB Cam Newton has “taken the country by storm since being drafted No. 1 overall last year,” and in just 15 months he has “developed into a national celebrity unlike anything the Panthers have seen since they began play" in '95, according to Steve Reed of the AP. If he is “not flying through your television set" in commercials for Under Armour or Gatorade, chances are fans have seen Newton "featured prominently by the NFL in advertisements for its upcoming preseason games.” No other Panthers player has “come close to grabbing the national spotlight as Newton has” after a record-setting rookie season. Panthers OT Jordan Gross said, “We haven't had a guy who gets this much attention -- ever.” Panthers LB Jon Beason: “We're still a very young franchise in a city where NASCAR is superior. If we win more games here, more of you guys (the media) are going to show up; there will be more endorsement deals and TV commercials for everybody. I think when you do have a mega-superstar on your team it definitely helps you.” Panthers C Ryan Kalil said, “People see him on commercials and think that's what he's been doing in the offseason, but they don't know what he's done behind the scenes.” He added, “You might think he's about the commercials, but that's not the deal. You don't see what we see” (AP, 7/30). In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted Newton is in commercials "just about everywhere else you look these days.” Beason said, “He’s a mega-superstar already” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/31).
I LOVE YOUR SMILE: In Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote it is "tough to write a column about Newton that doesn’t come off as an advertisement," but nobody in the organization "says anything critical about him -- not players, not coaches, not management.” When asked in what way Newton’s personality is dynamic, Panthers GM Marty Hurney said, “All you have to do is look at that smile.” Hurney added, “He has a youthful enthusiasm that is accompanied by an extreme professionalism” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/31).