Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert says he can already see that fatherhood has changed Cam Newton.
Newton welcomed his first son, Chosen Sebastian Newton, into the world on Christmas Eve, and his teammates and friends in the locker room have seen the effect on the quarterback.
“He’s kind of got a glow,” Tolbert said. “You can see it. You can see something’s different about him and obviously that’s it.
“I notice that he’s walking around with a much bigger smile and he’s a little bit more exuberant than anybody would be this time of year on a Thursday.”
He’s kind of got a glow. You can see it. You can see something’s different about him and obviously that’s it. I notice that he’s walking around with a much bigger smile and he’s a little bit more exuberant than anybody would be this time of year on a Thursday.
Mike Tolbert, on Cam Newton
Newton has tried his best to keep a sense of normalcy for the past week, but he’s found that to be difficult. The Panthers were the talk of the NFL last week for two reasons: their 14-0 start and their involvement in a one-game suspension of Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Then the Panthers hardly got in any practice because of bad weather and a schedule adjusted for Christmas. Between that and their first loss of the season to Atlanta, Newton and his longtime girlfriend, Kia Proctor, had their 9-pound, 6-ounce baby boy.
“I think we’re (overdosing) on this whole situation. Yeah I had a child, the people who needed to know have known for a while,” Newton said after several questions about Chosen. “Nothing’s pretty much changed besides our record. The focus now is still the same. Find ways to become 1-0.”
Each week offensive coordinator Mike Shula says something to Newton that gets him to give a little extra at practice, and Thursday seemed to be the day. Newton finished his runs with pace. He carried out his fakes every time. He seemed to be putting more zip on his passes.
Last week the Panthers had a light day on Tuesday, then had to go to the Charlotte Convention Center ballroom on Wednesday for practice because of heavy rain. The best, and really only, practice they got was on Christmas Eve, and Newton left with five snaps remaining to rush to Atlanta.
Newton doesn’t want a repeat of last Sunday, and Thursday’s practice seemed like him guaranteeing there wouldn’t be.
“Am I trying to backtrack about the reason we lost? Absolutely not. I’m just giving facts. We had one day of practice, actual practice, because of the weather. We’ve got to find ways and solutions of how not to make that happen again, because it showed.
“You see the film and you see a lethargic team out there that’s kind of waiting on somebody else to make plays. That hasn’t been our MO this whole season. We went down there and started fast to a degree, but the thing we pride ourselves on just didn’t happen.”
Now the Panthers face a Buccaneers team that lost 37-23 to Carolina in Week 4. With a Carolina victory or Arizona loss, the Panthers lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs.
And also with a win, Newton probably locks up the NFL’s MVP award. Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said Newton deserves the award because of what he’s done with the Panthers offense.
But McCoy won’t be taking it easy on the possible MVP and new dad.
“I’m going to congratulate him and then tell him I’ve been dealing with this for years, so get used to it,” McCoy said. “I have four kids, so nobody takes it easy on me.”
If Newton needs any advice on parenting, he need not look past Derek Anderson. Carolina’s backup quarterback is in all the meetings with Newton and is two lockers down from him.
Anderson and his wife have a 16-month-old girl who was born during last season – and a boy due in April – so Anderson knows about dealing with a new child during a season.
“It’ll change your life for the better,” Anderson said of his advice to Newton. “Every day when I get home, it’s the best part of my day. It’s stressful at times but you get used to it. It’s been the best thing that’s happened to me.”
Since having Amelia, Anderson said, he doesn’t take his work home with him. When he’s done at the stadium, he’s done until he’s back in the building bright and early the next morning.
You can keep work at work, but can you keep home at home? Tolbert said Newton has the glow about him, but apparently he’s not the annoying new father.
“You just start showing people pictures because you’re so proud,” Anderson said. “You don’t think about it but they don’t want to see that. I show Cam videos and stuff all the time. I’m sure he gets sick of it, but he’ll get to that point sometime.”