Cam Newton had spent his entire life as an Atlanta Falcons fan, until he was selected No. 1 overall by the Panthers in the 2011 NFL draft.
Now, the Carolina quarterback says he is a Falcons fan for 14 of their 16 regular-season games.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last weekend, Newton said he remains a fan of the NFC South rivals for all but two games a year the two meetings with the Panthers.
Its always a heavily critiqued game, said Newton in response to how tough it is playing his hometown team. Ive always been a Falcons fan, and Im still a Falcons fan except for those two times a year.
The comments came in a Q&A following his foundations Fun Day at a southwest Atlanta YMCA last week, which was attended by more than 300 kids. Questions ranged from giving back to the community to the Panthers offseason and also to his Belk clothing line.
Newton idolized former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and those Falcons teams from his adolescence, but that doesnt mean he gives them any breaks.
Last years Week 4 meeting in Atlanta saw the Panthers blow a late lead in what would have been Newtons first fourth-quarter comeback win. Coach Ron Rivera later said the loss especially hurt Newton, who wanted to beat the Falcons in his hometown.
Obviously with Cam, in addition to several other Panthers who have roots from Atlanta and Georgia, its always one of the most competitive games on that schedule, Cecil Newton, Cams father, told the Observer Monday. Thats obvious, and Cam is going to assert every ounce of energy that he has.
Newton has played Atlanta four times since entering the NFL, going 1-3 against the Falcons with the lone win in last years 30-20 home victory in Week 14.
After that game, Newton admitted he plays with a chip on my shoulder against Atlanta.
Cecil Newton likened his sons comments to NBA star LeBron James sending well wishes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown and former team before joining the Miami Heat.
Thats to the same tune, Cecil said. Why wouldnt Cam want to express who his hometown favorite team was when he was growing up? It means no more or no less. Some of his best performances came during Falcons games.
In two meetings last year against Atlanta, Newton went 38-for-59 for 502 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed 18 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
Newton also said in the Q&A that he earned a 3.5 grade point average after his spring semester at Auburn, where hes 15 credits shy of earning his sociology degree.
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