Cam Newton used to play in 7-on-7 tournaments in his hometown Atlanta, and was visibly pumped up as he fired up the 12 participating teams of the 7-on-7 flag football tournament the Carolina Panthers hosted last Tuesday.
“How can you be on the football field and not be passionate?” Newton told the teams, giving a pregame speech that would have made any coach proud. “That’s like going to the cafeteria and not eating. What are you going in there for? If you aren’t pumped to show out in front of your peers and your coaches, I don’t know what you came out here for.”
For a link to his pre-game speech, see the link below.
His words worked for Davidson (N.C.) Day School, which captured the championship with a 28-24 victory over reigning champion Mallard Creek High School of Charlotte.
“Just like Cam said earlier, ‘You’ve got to trust your teammates,’” Grier said. “I trusted my defense to get a stop, and they gave us a chance to do what we did.”
His dad, Davidson Day coach Chad Grier, said his players were surprised by Newton’s appearance.
“When he showed up, you just saw all the kids’ backs straighten up, and you saw a lot of big smiles and big eyes,” Coach Grier said. “He’s such a charismatic, dynamic personality, and obviously a terrific player.”
Newton appears to embrace becoming a welcoming and charismatic symbol of striving for excellence to the Charlotte crowd, and they love him for it.
“A lot of people that came through my community made it to the NFL, but I couldn’t really put my hands on them and say, ‘Man, I know this person. He just came to our school,’” Newton said. “That’s what I’m trying to do a better job of. As your status grows, your relationship with the community decreases. I want that to be the opposite with me.
“As I get bigger and grow and mature, I want my impact in the community to grow bigger. I think people have to see my face, and I want to see their face.”
Fans want to see Cam Newton’s face too, even if it is under a helmet.