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FORGIVING CAM NEWTON

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via usatoday.com

One More Thing Needs Adding For Cam Newton To Become An Icon.

After watching Carolina QB Cam Newton stand astride the NFL on Monday Night Football, I saw a different player than the questionable Auburn player who beat the Oregon Ducks in their first National Championship game.

What I saw was a man who deserves a second chance.

America is a nation of second chances and it’s time Cam Newton got his from Oregon.

In what feels like a ritual, ESPN’s Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico explained their Newtonian Theory of advanced quarterback play, beginning with history.

First it was his Florida time as Tim Tebow’s backup.

Coach Urban Meyer didn’t know Cam as well back then. If he had known the way Newton could command a team to victory, the only computer thievery we’d know about is Oregon’s Jeremiah Masoli.

The Cam/computer story would have morphed into an academic misunderstanding with Cam switching majors to computer science, not computer klepto.

If Coach Meyer could keep other players on the team, he could have done more with Cam. Aaron Hernandez would have been a Cam target instead of Hernandez targeting others.

Escaping that sort of snake pit without a felony deserves a special diploma.

Gruden and Tirico recite the rosary of Cam Newton so they’ll feel better when Gruden says, “Excuse me, Mike, but I’ve never seen the quarterback position played this way.”

“It’s baffling, Jon. The number of times the Panthers score in the Red Zone with the ball in Cam’s hands is incredible.”

Monday Night Football showed a grown man playing a kid’s game and making other grown men look like kids.

When College Cam left Florida he hooked with with a junior college in Texas and won a national championship. That’s another part of the Newtonian Theory. He wins big everywhere he goes.

Leading Auburn a year later was either a miracle from on high, or the work of Satanic forces inside the SEC. Separating the spirit of college football is hard, but beating Oregon for another Newtonian title is the biggest hurdle in forgiving Cam.

Everyone knows the SEC is ‘special’ and as such play by ‘special’ rules. (See Urban Meyer.) Whether Auburn gave a down payment before Cam suited up, or not, is not relevant to forgiveness in Oregon.

The Ducks have been to another title game since the Newton game where Florida’s disciplinarian former coach guided Ohio State to their big win. And please don’t think the Buckeyes will implode with the same rap sheet as the Gators.

After Maurice Clarett and Terrelle Pryor cycled through the program the Columbus police have a head start.

Aside from the computer science misunderstanding who can recall a Newton scrape with the law? If you need something to end a sports grudge, that helps.

A big part of forgiveness is having something or someone to forgive. After he beat Oregon I wanted Cam to catch the full heat of an NCAA investigation. Find the wrong doing, I hoped, and make Auburn forfeit their title and repossess Cam’s Heisman.

Give them the full USC treatment, the Reggie Bush treatment. But it hasn’t happened. Sure, the investigation happened. Names were named, just not the right ones often enough.

Cam weathered that storm and made the NFL. Now it’s time to release the ill will.

A small minded sports fan would hope Cam would flop like Pryor of Ohio State fame. A great player, but not good enough at the next level, Pryor was Cam before Cam.

Big and gifted, he took the Ducks down in the 2010 Rose Bowl. He followed the Newton recipe before it was written. Until the NFL.

A stunted sports fan might hope Cam turned into Washington State Cougar Ryan Leaf. Big and talented, Leaf blew his chances.

All Cam has done is adapt to NFL life so well that his twisted college route to the top is a footnote. If it turns into something as small as a footnote, show some forgiveness. Instead of flopping around the bottom of the football celebrity barrel as a former college great, the Newton story continues to grow.

Why else would Gruden and Tirico keep singing his song?

“This isn’t a Tom Brady quarterback sneak. Look at the way Newton lowers his shoulder and plows tacklers.”

“Excuse me, Mike, but that throwing shoulder is attached to a 100 million dollar contract, and, ah, I don’t know about running like that.”

“He didn’t slide.”

“No he didn’t, Mike. And why should he when he’s got four inches and twenty pounds on the linebacker? Still, it’s unusual to see a franchise player risk so much so often. Those are big hits he taking.”

Cam Newton deserves Oregon forgiveness for being the football player we hoped he’d be. Instead of a pampered baby riding the fame train until he makes enough money to jump off, or gets thrown off, we see him in a game like Monday night against the Colts.

He showed he was a student of the game who understands his role and his reads better than Andrew Luck from Stanford. In a tough guy game he goes out of his way to show how tough he is.

Listen to the man go through his pre-snap count.

He growls it out in a cadence that says, “I’ll take what I want on this field.”

The Cam command voice is no made for TV sound. It comes across as genuine and believable. Listen to it with your eyes closed. That’s a voice you’ve heard before from guys who lay it on the line every day on every play.

Halfway through the 2015 NFL season Cam Newton lifts the burden of guilt from fans who judged him on his past. The new Cam is the same as the old, been there all along except for Oregon fans.

Time to let it go, Duckies.

Cam Newton is everything promised. The better he gets, the greater the honor of playing against him. And it’s growing.

I’ve got one request. Over the years I hope to never hear “OMAHA” come out of his mouth. One is enough.

Okay, two requests. Cam, start wearing that concussion helmet. Show the kids you care enough to spare your brain the beating of NFL football. Let the kids know safety gear for their head is a good thing.

Other than that, move over Peyton, Cam Newton is taking over. Step aside Tommy Football, Cam’s got next.

That’s what forgiveness does.

About David Gillaspie
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