INDIANAPOLIS — Video cameras and reporters lurked in an expansive hallway inside Lucas Oil Stadium anxiously anticipating the biggest story of the week to stroll past.
Former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton emerged late Saturday afternoon wearing the NFL combine-issued all-black Under Armour uniform. Cameramen captured Newton’s every step to the stage, where he addressed the largest gathering of reporters this week.
“This whole path to where I am now has been something of a whirlwind, to say the least,” Newton said. “At the same time, this what I signed up for.
“To know 365 days ago I was attending class at Auburn. Even the Auburn fans didn’t know what they were getting this time last year. It’s a wonder what God can do in a person’s life … this fast.”
The Heisman Trophy winner answered reporters as they fought to ask questions, the louder voices clubbing the weaker ones.
Ultimately, NFL teams must determine if Newton is worth the gamble of a high draft pick.
Physically, it’s not an issue. Newton threw for 2,854 yards, 30 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions in leading the Tigers to the national championship. He also ran for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Newton said he would compete in Auburn’s Pro Day on March 9, and reiterated his intent to participate in the combine’s battery of tests.
Coaches and general managers will continue the lengthy process of evaluating Newton’s skills, and have already asked about the NCAA investigation involving Newton and his father.
“The process will be very extensive, whether it’s for Cam Newton or for other guys on our list,” said Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera, whose team owns the No. 1 pick in April’s draft. “We will explore every avenue. We also keep an open mind there’s a lot of things these young guys will do when they’re 18 years old. To judge people and not realize they have grown would be unfair.”
Newton began his press conference with an opening statement where he explained recent comments regarding himself not just as a football player but also an entertainer and icon.
“I understand my obligation is to be the best possible football player that I can be,” Newton said.
Newton thanked those close to him for supporting him through the NCAA investigation, which ruled he was unaware of a pay-for-play scheme carried out by his father, Cecil Newton, during Cam Newton’s recruitment by Mississippi State.
Newton said the two have grown closer through the draft process.
“My father is just like any other father that wants the best for his son,” Newton said. “He wants to see his son succeed in every way possible.”
Newton was asked about allegations that he had stolen a laptop com