Cameron Jerrell Newton (born May 11, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He previously played nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who selected him first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. Newton had college football stints at Florida and Blinn before joining Auburn, where he won the Bowl Champion Series National Championship and Heisman Trophy in 2010. Nicknamed "Super Cam", he is the NFL leader in quarterback rushing touchdowns at 70.
Newton was born in Atlanta on May 11, 1989. He is the son of Jackie and Cecil Newton Sr., who was a safety for the 1983 Dallas Cowboys and 1984 Buffalo Bills, and the younger brother of Cecil Newton, a center who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His youngest brother, Caylin, was the quarterback for the Howard Bison in the mid-2010s.
On January 22, 2012, Newton was named to be heading to the Pro Bowl after the New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship. Because Eli Manning was one of the three quarterbacks for the NFC to be selected, and with Newton being picked as the NFC alternate later in December, Newton was able to play in the Pro Bowl with Manning headed to the Super Bowl. He finished the Pro Bowl with 186 yards along with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Newton was named both AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year on February 4, 2012. He became the second straight number one pick to win the AP Rookie of the Year, after Sam Bradford won it the previous season. He was also the first Panther to win the Offensive award, but the second Panthers rookie of the year, following Julius Peppers, the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002. Cam received his Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year awards on the inaugural NFL Honors award show, with 47 of the 50 possible 50 AP votes (the other 3 going to Andy Dalton). He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team, becoming the third Panthers quarterback to claim this award, joining Kerry Collins (1995) & Chris Weinke (2001). He also landed the number 5 and 2 play of the year with his 49-yard touchdown run against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5), and his touchdown fumblerooski to Richie Brockel vs. the Houston Texans. He has the nickname Superman due to his touchdown celebration. Newton was rated as the 40th best player in the NFL by his peers on the NFL Top 100 player list. His rookie season was when he started the Carolina Panther tradition "Sunday Giveaway", where the Panthers offensive players typically give away the football that they just scored a touchdown with to kids in the stands.
In late January 2011, Newton began working out with George Whitfield Jr. in San Diego. Whitfield has worked with other quarterbacks such as Ben Roethlisberger and Akili Smith. On April 28, 2011, Newton was selected with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He was the first reigning Heisman Trophy winner to go first overall since Carson Palmer in 2003. He also was Auburn's fourth No. 1 selection after Tucker Frederickson (1965), Bo Jackson (1986), and Aundray Bruce (1988).
On February 6, 2016, Newton was named NFL MVP. Newton was the second African-American quarterback to receive the honor after Steve McNair in 2003 and the first sole recipient as McNair shared his award with Peyton Manning. In Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016, which pitted the Panthers' top-ranked offense against the Denver Broncos' top-ranked defense, the Panthers lost by a score of 24–10. The game was generally a one-score affair until a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. The defense of both teams performed extremely well and led to both offenses struggling terribly throughout the game. Newton was sacked six times and Manning was sacked 5 times, both quarterbacks fumbled twice, and both threw an interception.
The following week, Newton led the Panthers to their first 8–0 start in franchise history with a 37–29 victory over the Green Bay Packers; Newton went 15–30 for 297 yards passing, three touchdowns, and one interception to go along with 9 rush, 57 yards, and one touchdown. Further, for the first time in his career, Newton threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns in a single half. For his game against the Packers, Newton was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. The following week, during the Panthers 27–10 victory over the Tennessee Titans, Newton went 21 for 26 passes for 217 yards and 1 passing touchdown while recording 9 rushes for 23 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Newton began the game with 11 straight completions, tying his career best in a single game (vs. Bucs on 11/18/12). The following week, Newton led the Panthers to a 44–16 victory over the Washington Redskins. During the game, Newton threw for a career-high five touchdown passes and became the only quarterback in NFL history with 100+ passing touchdowns and 25+ rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons. For his efforts, Newton was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. During the Panthers 33–14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Newton completed 16-of-27 passes for 183 yards, including going 8-of-16 on third downs, and rushed 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. During the Panthers 41–38 victory over the New Orleans Saints, Newton finished with 380 combined passing and rushing yards and five touchdown passes. He was 10 of 14 for 154 yards, two touchdowns and a 147 QB Rating under pressure. He also led the game-winning 75-yard touchdown drive to the Panthers undefeated through their first 12 games. For his performance, Newton was named NFC Offensive Player of the week for the third time in five weeks. The last time a player achieved that feat was 2007, when Tom Brady of the New England Patriots won three player of the week awards in five weeks while quarterbacking the New England Patriots during an undefeated regular season. The following week, during the Panthers 38–0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Newton completed 15 of 21 passes for 265 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and finished with a career-high quarterback rating of 153.3. The Panthers amassed 225 yards of offense in just the first quarter of the game; a franchise record. During the Panthers thrilling 38–35 victory against the New York Giants, Newton went 25 of 45 for 340 yards and 5 passing touchdowns while adding 8 rushes for 100 yards, his third career game with at least 100 rushing yards. Newton also led the Panthers on his 12th-ever game-winning drive, and his fourth of the season. For his efforts, Newton was again named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Newton became the NFL's first player to win the award four times in a seven-week span since San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006.
Newton initially attended the University of Florida, where he was a member of the Florida Gators football team in 2007 and 2008. As a freshman in 2007, Newton beat out fellow freshman quarterback John Brantley as the back-up for eventual Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. He played in five games, passing for 40 yards on 5-of-10 and rushing 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns. In 2008, during his sophomore season, Newton played in the season opener against Hawaii but suffered an ankle injury and took a medical redshirt season.
On November 21, 2008, Newton was arrested on felony charges of burglary, larceny, and obstruction of justice on an accusation that he stole a laptop computer from another University of Florida student. He was subsequently suspended from the team. Campus police "tracked the stolen laptop to the athlete...Newton tossed the computer out his dorm window in a humorously ill-advised attempt to hide it from cops." All charges against Newton were dropped after he completed a court-approved pre-trial diversion program. "I believe that a person should not be thought of as a bad person because of some senseless mistake that they made," said Newton in 2010. "I think every person should have a second chance. If they blow that second chance, so be it for them." Newton announced his intention to transfer from Florida three days before the Gators' national championship win over Oklahoma. In November 2010, Thayer Evans of Fox Sports reported that Newton faced potential expulsion from the University of Florida for three instances of academic dishonesty, prior to transferring.
In January 2009, Newton transferred to Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, to play for head coach Brad Franchione, son of Dennis Franchione. That fall, he led his team to the 2009 NJCAA National Football Championship, throwing for 2,833 yards with 22 touchdowns and rushing for 655 yards. He was named a Juco All-America honorable mention and was the most recruited Juco quarterback in the country. Newton was ranked as the number one quarterback from either high school or junior college by Rivals.com and was the only five-star recruit. During Newton's recruitment, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Auburn were his three finalists. He eventually signed with the Auburn Tigers.
Newton started the first game of Auburn University's 2010 season, a home win over Arkansas State on September 4, 2010. Newton accounted for 186 passing yards, 171 rushing yards, and five total offensive touchdowns. He was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in the 52–26 victory. Three weeks later, Newton had a second break-out game with 158 passing yards, 176 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 35–27 victory. On October 2, Newton led Auburn to a 52–3 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. He completed three touchdown passes, one of which went for 94 yards to Emory Blake. It was the longest touchdown pass and offensive play in Auburn football history. On October 9, Newton led Auburn to a 37–34 victory over Kentucky. He passed for 210 yards and rushed for 198 yards including four rushing touchdowns. On October 16, during the Arkansas game, Newton ran for 188 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and threw one touchdown pass in the 65–43 victory. Following these performances, media reports began to list Newton among the top five candidates to watch for the Heisman Trophy.
Newton spent much of the second half of the 2010 football season embroiled in a controversy regarding allegations that his father, Cecil Newton, had sought substantial sums of money in return for his son playing for a major college football team, in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. In early November 2010, several Mississippi State University athletic boosters reported to the media that, during their recruitment of his son out of Blinn College nearly a year earlier, Cecil Newton said that it would take "more than just a scholarship" to secure his son's services. This demand was communicated by booster and former Mississippi State football player Kenny Rogers to fellow boosters and former teammates Bill Bell and John Bond. Rogers said in a Dallas radio interview that Cecil Newton said it would take "anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000" to get his son to transfer to Mississippi State. Auburn maintained throughout the investigation, which had begun several months before the public was made aware of it, that they were not involved in any pay-for-play scheme and that Cam Newton was fully eligible to play.
On December 4, 2010, Newton led the Tigers to an SEC Championship, their first since 2004, by defeating South Carolina 56–17, setting an SEC Championship Game record for most points scored and largest margin of victory. Newton was named the game MVP after scoring a career-best six total touchdowns, which were four passing and two rushing. With his performance, Newton also became the third player in NCAA FBS history to throw and run for 20-plus touchdowns in a single season joining former Florida teammate Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick, who reached the milestone earlier the same day. Newton was named the 2010 SEC Offensive Player of the Year as well as the 2010 AP Player of the Year. He was also one of four finalists for the 2010 Heisman Trophy, which he won in a landslide victory. He is the third Auburn player to win the Heisman Trophy (along with Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson).
In the opening game of the 2016 season, in a Super Bowl 50 rematch against the Denver Broncos, Newton surpassed two of Steve Young's NFL records, one for the most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with his 44th, and the other for most games with a passing and rushing touchdown, with his 32nd. This also tied Otto Graham's all-time professional American football mark of 44 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. He passed for 194 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception to go along with 11 carries for 54 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 21–20 loss. In the next game, a 46–27 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, he had 353 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, and one interception. On October 2, in a 48–33 loss at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4, Newton suffered a concussion on a two-point conversion run and missed the rest of the game. Newton missed the next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On December 4, against the Seattle Seahawks, Newton was benched for the first offensive series for a dress code violation. It was Newton's first professional game, other than his first career preseason game in 2011, in which he began the game as the backup.
On October 3, 2020, a day before the team's Week 4 matchup against the Chiefs, Newton tested positive for COVID-19 and the team placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which ultimately postponed the game by one day. He was activated from the list on October 14. In Week 9, in a 30–27 victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, Newton passed for 274 yards and had two rushing touchdowns. The performance marked the third time in the 2020 season that Newton had rushed for two touchdowns in one game, matching his career-high of three such games in his rookie season in 2011.
Following the victory in the SEC Championship, Auburn was invited to participate in the school's first BCS National Championship Game. The game took place on January 10, 2011, in Glendale, Arizona, with Auburn playing against the Oregon Ducks. In a game that Steve Spurrier predicted to score as high as 60–55, Auburn beat Oregon just 22–19 to win the BCS National Championship. Newton threw for 262 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He rushed 22 times for 65 yards, though he lost a fumble that later allowed Oregon to tie the game with limited time remaining. Once Auburn received the ball, Newton drove the Tigers down the field to win the game on Wes Byrum's last-second field goal. Media outlets wrote Newton was upstaged by teammate Michael Dyer, the game's Offensive MVP, and Auburn's defense, which held the high-powered Oregon ground game to just 75 yards On January 13, three days after winning the BCS National Championship, Newton declared for the 2011 NFL Draft, forgoing his senior season.
On July 29, 2011, Newton signed a four-year contract, worth over $22 million, with the Carolina Panthers that was fully guaranteed. After unsuccessfully negotiating with quarterback Jimmy Clausen for the No. 2 jersey Newton wore at Auburn, he decided to keep the No. 1 jersey that the Panthers had assigned him after the draft. His quarterbacks coach was Mike Shula, former head football coach of his college rival Alabama. A month later on September 1, 2011, he was named the Panthers' starting quarterback, ahead of Derek Anderson and Clausen.
In his NFL debut game on September 11, 2011, Newton was 24–37 passing for 422 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception, in a 28–21 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals. With a quarterback rating of 110.4, he also rushed for a touchdown, and became the first rookie to throw for 400+ yards in his first career game. His 422 passing yards broke Peyton Manning's rookie record for most passing yards on opening day.
In October 2011, the NCAA officially closed its 13-month investigation into the recruitment of Cam Newton, unable to substantiate any allegation or speculation of illicit recruiting by Auburn, and concluded that Cecil Newton only solicited a cash payment from Mississippi State and no other institution attempting to recruit his son. The investigation, which consisted of over 50 interviews and the reviewing of numerous bank records, IRS documents, telephone records, and e-mail messages, resulted in no findings that would indicate Auburn participated in any pay-for-play scenario in signing Cam Newton. The NCAA said that the allegations failed to "meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media" and that the allegations were not "based on credible and persuasive information". The NCAA's Stacey Osburn said "We've done all we can do. We've done all the interviews. We've looked into everything and there's nothing there. Unless something new comes to light that's credible and we need to look at, it's concluded."
The Panthers recorded their first victory of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars 16–10. Newton threw for 158 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers played the Atlanta Falcons, losing 31–17 while passing for 237 yards with no passing touchdowns. Newton increased his team's record to 2–5 with a Week 7 win over the Washington Redskins 33–20. He threw for 256 yards and one touchdown, completing 18 of his 23 passes. He also rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown, including one run for 25 yards. This performance brought Cam a passer rating of 127.5, his highest yet. With Carolina's win over the Indianapolis Colts, Newton became the fourth rookie quarterback to pass for over 3,000 yards in his first season, joining Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, and Sam Bradford. Newton set the NFL rushing touchdown record for quarterbacks on December 4, 2011, rushing for his 13th touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The historic performance was part of a career-high three rushing touchdowns, which were part of a 38–19 win. In that game, he also caught a 27-yard pass from wide receiver Legedu Naanee, making him a triple threat. On December 24, 2011, in a 48–16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton threw for 171 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. In the process, he broke Peyton Manning's record of 3,739 yards passing for a rookie. On January 1, 2012 against the New Orleans Saints, Newton threw for 158 yards and became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards. He finished his rookie season with 4,051 yards. Over the course of the season, when Newton had a turnover, the team was 0–10; when he had no turnovers, the team went 6–0.
In 2013, Newton partnered with Southern department store chain Belk on his own clothing line, MADE by Cam Newton.
Through his first three starts in the season, Newton recorded a 110.8 quarterback rating against the blitz. During the Panthers Week 5 victory against the Chicago Bears, Newton led the Panthers from a 14-point deficit and was named to the Pro Football Focus (PFF) Team of the Week for his performance. Senior producer of NFL Films Greg Cosell and respected Football Outsiders columnist and Pre Snap Reads owner, Cian Fahey, both noted Newton's clear development and growth as a pocket passer. During the Panthers Week 6 37–37 tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, Newton accounted for 91% of the offense, recording a career-high 29 of 46 completions for 286 yards with two touchdowns and an interception along with 17 rushing attempts for 107 yards and a rushing touchdown, the most since the 2012 Week 14 win against Atlanta, when he had 116 on nine carries. Through the first six games in the season, Newton averaged 2.53 seconds to attempt a pass (2.73 in 2013) and has had the ball out in under 2.5 seconds on 51.8% of his drop-backs (40% in 2013). Newton had arguably his best game of the season in a 41–10 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Newton completed 21–33 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Along with that he had 83 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in that game and with this performance, Newton has had four games with at least 200 passing yards and 80 rushing yards with multiple touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. That is the most such games in NFL history. Two days following the Saints game, Newton was involved in a well-publicized car crash in which he fractured two vertebrae in his lower back. He missed only one game and returned to the field a week later in a match against the Cleveland Browns to make the final end-of-season push to win the NFC South division and once again make the playoffs.
On June 2, 2015, the Panthers and Newton agreed to a five-year, $103.8 million contract extension. Through the 2015 preseason, Newton graded as PFF's best quarterback. During the season-opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Newton finished with 175 yards passing, one touchdown, and one interception, while rushing for 35 yards. This was the first NFL opening-day victory for Newton (the Panthers won their opener in 2014 with an injured Newton on the sidelines). During the Panthers' Week 2 victory over the Houston Texans, Newton finished with 195 yards passing, two passing touchdowns, and one interception, while rushing for 76 yards and one touchdown. In week three against the New Orleans Saints, Newton passed for 315 yards and two passing touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown. It marked the 26th game in Newton's career in which he had a passing and a rushing touchdown, ranking second all-time in NFL history behind only Steve Young (31). Further, it marked the 14th time in his career where Newton notched two-plus touchdown passes and at least one rushing touchdown, third-most in the NFL since 1960, behind only Steve Young (17) and Fran Tarkenton (16). Through the first three games of the season, Newton accounted for 76% of the total offensive yards and 88% of the total touchdowns the Panthers generated. Newton helped lead the Panthers to a 3–0 start, the first time they had done so since the 2003 NFL Season. Several experts noted Newton's continued growth as a quarterback; Gil Brandt noted Newton's improving internal clock in the pocket, citing his career low sack percentage of 4.8% in the early season; senior NFL columnist for CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco, noting Cam's improved pocket patience, mechanics, and ability to read defenses; Cian Fahey noted Newton's development into a refined pocket passer with the athleticism to diversify any offense with a multidimensional run game. In the following week, during a 37–23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton went 11 of 22 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns while leading the team in rushing with 51 yards to give the Panthers a 4–0 record for the first time since 2003. As a rusher, through the first four weeks, Newton ranked 3rd in the NFL in rushes for first downs.
On March 21, 2014, Newton underwent surgery to "tighten" up his ankle ligaments, which Newton admitted he had dealt with since his college days at Auburn University. The estimated recovery time was four months, which caused him to miss training camp and the first preseason game. During the third preseason game against the New England Patriots, Newton suffered a hairline fracture on his ribs after a hit from Jamie Collins. Newton's streak of starting 48 consecutive games was snapped during the Panthers opening game 20–14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Newton made his debut during Carolina Panthers home opener against the Detroit Lions in Week 2. He recorded 300 yards of offense with a touchdown, no turnovers, and a 100.2 quarterback rating en route to a 24–7 victory.
On December 9, 2014, Newton was involved in a car crash in Charlotte where his vehicle flipped, and he suffered two back fractures.
Newton made an impact in his first season where he set the rookie records for passing (4,051) and rushing yards (706) by a quarterback, winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in the process. The league's first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season and the first to throw for 400 yards in his NFL debut, he also set the season record for quarterback rushing touchdowns at 14. Between 2013 and 2017, Newton led the Panthers to three division titles and four playoff appearances. His most successful season came in 2015 when he was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) and helped Carolina obtain a franchise-best 15–1 record en route to a Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl 50. He is, along with Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and Steve McNair, one of only four African-American quarterbacks to win the AP MVP award.
Newton was a talented baseball and basketball player as a youth but developed a fear of being hit by a pitch in baseball and could not avoid foul trouble on the basketball court. He stopped playing baseball at 14 years old and quit basketball shortly into his high school career. In 2015, Newton graduated from Auburn University with a degree in sociology.
The Panthers had their first setback in the 20–13 away loss to the Atlanta Falcons in their second divisional matchup. In the loss, Newton was 17 of 30 for 142 yards. In a 38–10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the regular season finale, Newton tied his season-best completion percentage (80.8), threw for almost 300 yards and added a pair of touchdowns and had his first game with two rushing touchdowns since Week 12 of the 2012 season. His passer rating of 139.3 was the second best mark he posted all season. For his efforts, he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in the season. Newton became the first player to win five NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards in a nine-week span within a season and his five awards tied for the most in a season in NFL history (Tom Brady, 2007). Cam Newton led NFL quarterbacks in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns in 2015. Newton's 45 total touchdowns during the regular season marked the most touchdowns by a single player since 2013. Newton was selected as the 2015 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year by the PFWA.
Newton was ranked as the top player in the NFL by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016. For the season, Newton has sold the 7th most merchandise from March 2015 to February 2016.
In December 2015, Newton's girlfriend, Kia Proctor, gave birth to their son in Atlanta. In February 2017, Newton and Proctor's daughter was born. Proctor gave birth to the couple's third child, a boy, in July 2018.
For the 2016 season, Newton completed 52.9 percent of his passes, marking a career worst in that category. He threw 19 touchdown passes, 16 less than the previous year, and 14 interceptions, the second most of his career behind his rookie season. The Panthers regressed from their 15–1 record from the previous year to a 6–10 record in 2016. Despite a down 2016 season, Newton was still ranked 44th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.
Newton and the Panthers began struggling in the month of November. After the Panthers lost to the New Orleans Saints in Week 15, which was their sixth straight loss after starting 6–2, Newton acknowledged a nagging shoulder injury that had been hampering his play during the losing streak, and hinted that the team would deactivate him for the final two games of the season in order to heal. On January 24, 2019, Newton officially underwent right shoulder surgery.
Newton was a self-proclaimed pescetarian. As of March 2019, he has become a vegan. A few dietitians have claimed that the change in diet may have delayed his injury recovery the following season, especially if not done properly.
In May 2019, Newton's cigar bar and restaurant named Fellaship formally opened at Olympic Park Drive Dr. near Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.
On March 17, 2020 the Panthers announced they had given Newton permission to seek a trade. However, on March 24, after failing to find a trade partner, the team announced they had officially released Newton.
After nearly three months in free agency, Newton signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on July 8, 2020. The contract included a base salary of $1.05 million, the minimum salary for a player with his amount of experience, and a maximum value of $7.5 million, including incentives and playing time bonuses. Newton was considered by the media as a potential successor to 20-year veteran Tom Brady, who left New England in free agency. He was named starting quarterback and team captain of the Patriots on September 3, beating out veteran Brian Hoyer and second-year Jarrett Stidham, which made him the team's first new primary starter since 2002.