Terrell Owens opens up about Hall of Fame at Cam Newton's kickball event
During one of the early games Friday, a strong-footed participant sent a kickball sailing toward right-center field for what looked like a certain home run.
But Panthers quarterback Cam Newton — the host for the 25 teams that included a couple dozen celebrity players — gave chase to the red playground ball and barreled through a couple sections of white plastic fencing going after it.
Newton emerged with the ball and his body parts intact, providing one of the highlights of the fourth annual Kicking it with Cam charity kickball tournament at Memorial Stadium on a sweaty Friday afternoon.
A few minutes later after Cecil Newton wandered over to Field 2, someone mentioned his son's effort play.
"Did he catch it?" Cecil Newton asked.
That question captured the essence of Newton's annual kickball event, which features plenty of photo-ops and rubbing elbows with star NFL and NBA players — with a good bit of competitiveness mixed in.
On one of the back fields later in the day, tempers flared in a game that included former NFL great Terrell Owens on one of the teams. Cooler heads eventually prevailed, after which Owens smiled when it was pointed out that controversy seems to follow the soon-to-be Hall of Fame receiver.
"Yeah, it's a little competitive. I get real excited. I'm competitive. I want to win," Owens said. "I texted Cam before I came out here and told him I'm going to kick his ... butt."
While Owens is headed to Canton this summer after a first-ballot snub last year, he didn't create the biggest buzz Friday. That honor went to Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones, who's been a no-show at Falcons' OTAs but made his way to Charlotte for a kickball tournament.
The Panthers used their official Twitter account to troll the Falcons with a picture of Newton and Jones together, before later removing the tweet. Jones, who's been something of a Panther-killer throughout his career, said he was in town to support Newton and declined to answer any other questions.
A number of Newton's teammates — past and present — were in attendance. The list included Julius Peppers, Josh Norman, Greg Olsen, Christian McCaffrey, Devin Funchess, Thomas Davis, Brandon LaFell and Kenjon Barner.
Newton had his son, Chosen, join him in the field during one of the games. Olsen let his two young sons take some kicks between games, then took off early for their playoff baseball game in south Charlotte.
Some of the celebrities enjoyed spotting other celebrities. Case in point: Panthers running back/return specialist Kenjon Barner having his picture taken with pro wrestling star R-Truth (nee Ron Killings).
Former Falcons running back Jamal Anderson did his famous "Dirty Bird" while jogging down the baseline, while Newton did any number of dances on and around the bases.
While some of the weekend-warrior pitchers sent some fast rollers toward the plate, Newton mostly served up some very kickable pitches, which eventually led to Charlotte Hornets star Dwight Howard replacing him on the mound.
"It was a long day, to say the least. My production hasn't been what it has been," Newton said later, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "I need better field play. I'm not going to point the finger. But it's a collective group of players that we all have to uphold everybody's end of the bargain. And I think I have."