Cam Newton knew the Panthers needed to sign someone to protect his blind side last offseason, and so he went to work on recruiting Michael Oher to come to Carolina.
Newton said today that he started work on Oher a year ago, before free agency officially started, urging him to consider signing with the Panthers. Newton said his pitch to Oher was the hardest he’s ever worked on trying to convince a player to sign with the Panthers.
“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.”
Newton’s brother, Cecil Newton Jr., was a center on the Ravens’ practice squad for two years while Oher was in Baltimore, and Cam says Cecil told him how much he’d like playing with Oher.
“With my brother playing in Baltimore, I had someone tell me how good he really is. 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,'” Newton said.
That turned out to be a good scouting report from Cecil and a good recruiting pitch from Cam. Oher’s presence in Carolina has been a big part of the Panthers’ Super Bowl season.