Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has the kind of all-around athletic ability that makes you think he was probably good at every sport growing up.
But he said something simple and reasonable — fear — motivated him to give up baseball when he was 14.
“I quit baseball at 14 because I was afraid of the pitches,” Newton told Carmen Thompson of ESPN The Magazine. “The kids started getting better and throwing faster, and it would’ve hurt getting hit by that ball, so I stopped playing.”
Newton said he tried basketball after that, but was foul-prone because of the inherent teenage disconnect between size and strength and coordination.
When he started playing football, however, he was a linebacker.
“So when I got the opportunity to play offense, it was nothing. I wasn’t shying away from contact. If anything, I was initiating it,” he said. “I think that’s what kind of made me stand out at an early age. My mom always wondered how I could be afraid of a little baseball when I always had these huge guys chasing me. It’s a good question.”
The way Newton runs around, and the fact the Panthers are trying to avoid having him hit more than he has to be, makes it obvious they have the same concerns.
Maybe they should be as worried about the Falcons, Buccaneers and Saints throwing beanballs, something he’s really worried about.