Cam Newton to Michael Oher during free agency: I need you

Cam Newton told Michael Oher during free agency last year that he needed him.
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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton told offensive tackle Michael Oher during free agency last year that he needed him, reports NBC’s Pro Football Talk.

“With the free agent pool, I’ve sent texts out before, called guys and said, ‘We’d love for you to be part of the team.’ But Mike was different,” Newton said. “I didn’t say, ‘I want you to be here.’ It was, ‘I need you.’ That’s different. Want and need are two different words, and that’s what I used in that text, along with other explicit words before the ‘need.’ And I think he got the feeling from that.”

Oher signed a two-year deal with the team last March.

Newton was told about Oher’s protection prowess by his brother Cecil Newton Jr., who played with Oher on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad for two seasons.

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“With my brother playing in Baltimore, I had someone tell me how good he really is,” Newton said. “My brother, playing on the offensive line, was around him every day, saw how he brought the professionalism each and every day. That’s something that stuck out to him, and he told me, ‘Mike is someone who will be a key asset to the team.'”

The 28-year-old Oher was selected by the Ravens in the first round of the 2009 draft out of Ole Miss. He spent last season with the Tennessee Titans before being released in February. 

​Oher's ascent to the professional ranks was the basis for the book and subsequent Oscar-winning film, “The Blind Side.”