Jackson has done a good job of following through on that goal. He won a Heisman while at Louisville and won the NFL’s MVP award last season to accomplish two of the milestones that have marked Newton’s career. This weekend he and Newton will be on the same field when the Ravens come to Gillette Stadium to face the Patriots.
Newton hasn’t looked up to Jackson the same way, but he has followed his fellow quarterback’s rise. Newton was at Jackson’s first college start as an Auburn fan and said he was struck by how “electric” Jackson was in a 31-24 Auburn win. He’s kept watching over the years and sees Jackson filling the same role he played for the younger player.
“Man, my boy Lamar has a gear not many human beings got. And just to see him take off, I’m a fan of the game. And if I’m watching Baltimore, obviously I’m watching to see what the MVP is going to do,” Newton said, via Matt Vautour of MassLive.com. “I just respect his game so much. . . . For him to be as successful and to make the impact, the big splash in this game, not many people have done it. I say Michael Vick, I say Lamar. I don’t even think I’m in that stratosphere, but for him to be as dominant, dynamic, explosive at the quarterback position is something that just gives so much opportunity to the younger generation to be able to see what Lamar Jackson is doing and to get hopes to say, ‘I could play the quarterback position too.'”
Winning a game will take precedence on Sunday night, but it sounds like the mutual admiration society will live on regardless of the result.