Cam Newton appears to have this media thing down.
He confidently flashed his pearly-white teeth as he glided to the podium, sharing a laugh with NFL draft guru Gil Brandt before beginning a 15-minute-long Q & A with reporters
Newton read from a written statement to begin the press conference, addressing his recent remarks about being an entertainer and an icon after the announcement for his new endorsement deal with Under Armour.
“I was making the point that I want to be the best possible ambassador for them, just like I want to be the best possible ambassador for whatever team I’m blessed to play for,” said Newton, reading from a prepared statement.
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Newton also accepted blame for those comments being misinterpreted.
He did slip into third person a couple times – a no-no unless you have reached Deion Sanders and Kobe Bryant’s stratosphere in terms of super stardom. But overall Newton was very impressive and looked like a person who could lead an NFL team.
Newton’s poise and grace under tough questions about his background in front of a swelling throng of media was in stark contract to Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet, who bristled when repeatedly asked to address the rumors about drug use in his past.
Mallet refused to discuss the issue when asked five different times, finally saying, “I said I’m not going to talk about that stuff.”
Newton also addressed his relationship with his father after the NCAA allegations the dogged his family throughout his final season at Auburn.
“The relationship with my father was one that was already good before the adversity stuff came up with the NCAA,” Newton said. “And with this whole NCAA thing swarming around my family and everyone that was affiliated with me, it just brought me and my father closer together.”
Do people mistake his confidence for cockiness?
“I’m not sure,” he said. “It was instilled in me at a young age to believe in myself, first and foremost. Because if I don’t believe in myself, who do I expect to believe in myself.”
Newton refused to address the allegations of plagiarism and stealing a laptop while at Florida, saying it was in the past. He also said he would not change what occurred in his past, because it helped make him into the person he is today.
Newton said he will compete in all of he drills at the combine and throw at his Auburn pro day on March 8.
If Newton can dispel questions about his character, off-the-field issues and leadership ability, he’s sure to be a top-five pick because of his obvious physical skills. Today’s press conference was as step in the right direction.