Cam Newton was a very large child. And though he’s since developed into a dominant force on the football field and used his size to his advantage, at one point, it made things very difficult.
A look back into the SI Vault and Lars Anderson’s story from November 2010 — Catch Cam if you can (You can’t) — reveals an eight-year-old Newton stood 4'8", and weighed nearly 100 pounds. He played in a youth football league with a strict weight limit, which created a bit of an obstacle given his size. And the future Panthers quarterback took matters into his own hands with a surprisingly disciplined approach — for a football player of any age, at that.
Anderson says, “At the age of eight, standing 4'8" and weighing almost 100 pounds, Cam would awaken before dawn on fall Saturdays and throw on his shoulder pads, cleats and uniform. Helmet in hand, he’d be at the breakfast table of his College Park, Ga., home by 6:30 (“It was the only day of the week that he didn’t have to be woken up,” says his father) but often didn’t eat.”
“Cam was in a weight-based league, and he’d do whatever it took to be under the maximum weight,” says Cecil, who played safety and linebacker at Savannah State from 1979 through ’83. “Sometimes he wouldn’t eat for an entire day before a game. If he didn’t make weight, he’d cry like he was going to have his leg amputated.”
Newton and the Panthers face off against the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.