Clicking that link will take you to Cam Newton's Panthers.com roster page. If you haven't already, go ahead and take a moment to click on it and check out what's written in the "Summary" section there.
Tell you what. I'll save you the trouble. As of this particular point in time, it says exactly this:
And it says that for good reason. As far as Newton is concerned, at the pro level, there isn't any data at all, not even a single stat. Right now all you can really get from the page is a bio that talks about what he did in college and such. Only problem? None of that stuff actually matters anymore.
Heisman Trophy? Meaningless.
National Championship? Doesn't count in the pros.
Gimmicky offense? Not running it anymore.
Character issues? Didn't stop him from being the top pick in the draft.
When it comes to all that's gone before, as a royal counselor by the name of Rafiki once said, "What does it matter? It's in the past."
For all intents and purposes, Newton is a blank slate.
Now, at some point, that Summary section will indeed have things written there (nature abhors a vacuum; so does the internet). What it is that ultimately gets written on that page in future years is what will really matter, and that's going to be up to Newton himself.
If he doesn't put in the needed work, or figures he can get by on talent alone, or he decides that partying and having fun are more important than working to be great, that page will wind up being a testament to yet another player who squandered the goodwill a great college career gave him by being a bust in the pros. It's happened to plenty of guys before, and it could happen to Newton too. People will read that page, think about what could have been, and shake their head at what an awful waste his career turned out to be.
On the other hand, if he works hard, studies patiently, listens to coaching and handles himself like a professional adult rather than a college kid, then there's every reason to believe that page can go from being a blank slate to a list of accomplishments. More than that, it can become a great story, the story of how a kid who had a rollercoaster of a college experience came to the NFL, took advantage of his opportunity and made his name a memorable one for football fans in the Carolinas...and maybe even everywhere else.
So if I could issue a challenge to Cam Newton right now, it would be simply this:
Write that page, young man. Write it in such a way that Panther fans like me are happy to go back and read it again and again and again and again.
It's yours to write, and no one else can do it for you, so make sure you do it well.
Edited by Mr Scot, 01 May 2011 - 03:21 PM.