Cam Newton understands now that all eyes are on him, always.
Whether he’s sitting on the bench during a Panthers game with a towel on his head, or high-fiving high school players at his football camp, he knows that people are watching.
And that self-awareness has caused him to work on things this offseason, as it pertains to football and leadership.
“I think this offseason has been key in my growth, going back and looking at things that I’ve done on the field and off the field,” Newton said, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “Whether I’m watching film or just watching things that I can become a better person at, I’m trying to polish things up to make me a better person and better player.”
That includes his own body language, as those around him have pointed out. Head coach Ron Rivera referred to him as “Mr. Mopeyhead” last year after a loss, and Newton understands why.
“Body language is everything,” he said. “I could be having a conversation with you guys and have my face down and not make eye contact and everything’s OK. But the way it looks may come off a different way. And I understand that.
“That’s one thing I’ve tried to focus on, but at the same time it’s a work in progress.”
Newton also said “there’s a lot of youth that has to be flushed out” of his game, but so far he’s been as criticized for his demeanor as anything he’s done on the field.
“It’s all something I want to hone in on and become better at,” Newton said. “It’s something I’ve observed and said, ‘Hey, I’m not the best at that, let me work on that.’ ”
Realizing that on his own, and working to change it, might be one of the best signs for the Panthers’ chances this season.