What Patriots fans should know about Cam Newton

Newton shares an alma mater with one of the quarterbacks he’ll be competing against: Both he and Jarrett Stidham played at Auburn.

Cam Newton AP Photo/Don Wright, archive

If Patriots fans aren’t familiar with Cam Newton, they should be. The 31-year-old is a former MVP quarterback known for his style on the field and off of it. And he was just signed by the Patriots to a one-year deal.

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Here’s some things to know:

Where he played last

Newton, who was signed Sunday night, most recently played for the Panthers before he was cut in March. New Panthers coach Matt Rhule said in late February that they “absolutely want Cam here,” but the team allowed Newton to seek a trade weeks later.

Newton pushed back against that characterization on social media, saying the team forced him into it.

“I never asked for it,” he wrote. “I love the [Panthers] to death and will always love you guys.”

The Panthers signed QB Teddy Bridgewater as Newton’s replacement the same day.

Where he went to college

Newton shares an alma mater with the man he’ll be competing against: Both he and Jarrett Stidham played at Auburn.

Newton transferred to the Alabama school after beginning his college career at Florida. After a brief stop in junior college – where he won the NJCAA national title for Blinn College – he landed on Gus Malzahn’s squad in 2010.

Newton would wind up leading the Tigers to a 13-0 record, an SEC Championship and a national title that season en route to earning the Heisman Trophy. He threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns, and added another 1,473 yards and 21 TDs on the ground.

Those gaudy numbers helped him get drafted No. 1 overall that spring by Carolina.

Stidham, who started for Auburn for two seasons after transferring from Baylor, threw for 18 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018. The Tigers finished 10-4 in his first season – good for 10th in the final AP poll – and 8-5 in 2018. He was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2019.

What he’s accomplished in the NFL

Newton was on top of the football world in 2015 when he was named MVP after throwing for 35 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more. The Panthers went 15-1, losing in the second-to-last week of the season to the Falcons.

He led Carolina all the way to the Super Bowl after demolishing the Cardinals, 49-15, in the NFC Championship game. But he couldn’t finish it out, and lost to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.

What he wears to the podium

Newton doesn’t miss an opportunity to showcase his eclectic fashion style. You can expect to see him in some wild outfits at the interview podium.

From a wide-brimmed number to an adorned fez to a scarf tied like a bonnet, he’s never been afraid of trotting out out-there headwear when speaking to the media after games.

For Newton, how he presents himself is very personal.

“Fashion is like beauty,” he said in a video posted by the Panthers in 2018. “It’s in the eye of the beholder.”

He said he even looks back on certain outfits and wonders what he was feeling in the moment.

“You know, you swing sometimes, and you hit a grand slam,” he said. “And you swing sometimes and you miss. But as long as you keep swinging.”

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