Quarterback Cam Newton is a free agent for the first time, and it comes during an unprecedented period when much of the country is shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Newton, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in late March, talked about his situation during an interview Monday with Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul on Instagram Live.
“It’s so much possibility right now for me, but the fact that this corona situation has hit — I’m not a person to blame or do any of that things, man, it’s business,” Newton said. “But at the same time, I think I have been affected in a lot of ways, and it’s just [unfortunate]. But yeah, at the end of the day, man, I’m going to let the ball play how it play, man, and go from there.”
He said being a free agent has put him “in uncharted waters for the first time in my career” and that the chip on his shoulder has “turned into family-size real quick.”
Newton acknowledged it’s a “weird” time but said he is using his time in isolation with his family “to become stronger mentally, physically and spiritually.”
“I think that’s more important than anything, man. I’ve gained this interest [in] meditating every morning, man, and it’s time for me,” he said. “I’m a fish out of water. I’ve never … known anything other than the Carolina Panthers, and now it’s like I want God to direct my path and put me in a position where I can thrive and be myself. But on top of that, it’s still [about] becoming better.”
Newton, who turns 31 next month, said the best part about self-quarantining is “being around my kids.”
Newton, a nine-year NFL veteran, led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in the 2015 season and was named the NFL MVP. But he has dealt with shoulder and foot injuries the past two seasons.
Earlier on Monday, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney discussed the decision to release Newton, the quarterback he selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. The Panthers released Newton after agreeing to a contract with free agent Teddy Bridgewater to become the team’s starter.
“You have to make very difficult decisions every year. This was probably one of the most difficult. I drafted Cam. We all know everything he’s brought to the organization both on and off the field, so it was extremely difficult,” Hurney said.
ESPN’s David Newton contributed to this report.