Auburn quarterback Cam Newton’s public workout scheduled for February 10 has drawn scrutiny as a “publicity stunt” attempting to upstage the NFL’s Scouting Combine later in the month. The perception is that Newton’s father, Cecil, played a major role in planning the workout.
NFL teams are leery of Cecil’s close and perhaps too-public association with his son’s decision making after Cecil nearly cost Cam his eligibility during the 2010 college season.
Newton’s personal quarterbacks coach, George Whitfield, is defending Cecil and insisting it was him — not Cam’s father or any member of “Team Newton,” as Whitfield calls Cam’s entourage — who was the driving force behind the workout.
“I hated that his dad’s name got stuck to that,” Whitfield told the Birmingham Press-Register. “His dad bounced it off of me, but the genesis behind that [was Whitfield]. I think Cam is ready. It will be a unique experience. The whole essence of this media workout is to unveil [Cam’s] progress.”
Whitfield has been closely associated with “Team Newton” since teaming up with Cam last Monday for pre-draft preparation and tutoring.
“It’s a very tight family,” Whitfield says. “It’s like watching three best friends paling around the city. I feel sorry for their poor dad. They get on him with jokes and headlocks. It’s such a dynamic to see, knowing how much they’ve gone through.”
Whitfield, who worked with Ben Roethlisberger during the Super Bowl quarterback’s four-game suspension, is confident that the February 10 workout will help Newton’s draft stock.
“We’re committed to having a big test live and in public,” said Whitfield. “I’m going to push him to show not only his aptitude for the drop-back game, but his conditioning, his arm conditioning, his power, his touch.
“I don’t know a whole lot of other quarterbacks who would do this.”