What did Cam Newton learn in 2020? 'I’m a mentally tough S.O.B.'

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Like most everyone else, 2020 was a trying year for Cam Newton.

It began with being released by the Panthers, then he was a free agent until late June, started a new journey with the Patriots replacing Tom Brady, got COVID-19 and then has struggled for the vast majority of the season with his play on the field.

So, what did Newton learn about himself this season?

“I’m a mentally tough, S.O.B., bruh,” Newton said Thursday via video conference before getting into a long emotional response.

Within his answer, Newton said being away from his kids was the hardest thing.

“And everything that you just said really wasn’t really the main one that I’m just like, you know — which ones did you say?" he continued. "You said the injuries, that was tough to kind of get over. The late free agency. Yup. That was tough. COVID, you mentioned. And even the success, those are all ones that you kind of look back and kind of, ‘Yeah, it could have been better.’

“The one for me is my kids. It’s my children. It’s like any father, any mother who’s on this call right now to go without talking to your kids or your family. That was — that’s everything, you know what I’m saying? Because like, I’ll put it like this: And I’m being honest, right? I had two birthdays that I didn’t see. My son Chosen’s birthday was on Christmas Eve. I didn’t get to see it with him. My son Cashmere’s birthday was on September 30, and I didn’t get to see that too. Cashmere just turned 1, so that was kind of a big deal for him. Chosen just turned 5. So — and even more or less, not seeing my kids’ first steps.

“Like, all of those things, being unemployed for 86 nights, yeah that’s tough. Having injuries, yeah that’s tough. Going through this season and you can kind of assume what a juggernaut media market that Boston is or Foxboro, New England, whatever you want to call, is. The slander that comes with living up to the TB12 expectations. Yeah, all of that is tough. You hear it. None of it is even a close second to not being able to see your children. Just that. You miss your kids’ first steps. You’re not there during Christmas. You’re not there on birthdays.

“And then on top of that, you’re sucking? Ah, man. And coming from a person that’s already emotional? And I don’t even want to talk to people on a regular day let alone when everything is going good. But I’ve learned that through it all, you only got your faith in God, your faith in yourself. And that’s pretty much it. I’ve really relied on understanding of trying to find something to build off of. It didn’t matter if it was a, ‘Well, it was an incomplete.’ And you may think of it as — I don’t care what you think of it — for me, I’m being optimistic through it all and I’ve learned to be optimistic especially through these trials and tribulations because at times during this year, it was like, ‘God. What is it? What are you doing? What are you trying to tell me? Like, what am I not doing?’

“And yeah, having to wake up at certain amount of times and leaving the facilities at certain amount of times and still not having the success that you want to have, it teaches you resiliency. It teaches you patience. It teaches you to have faith and understanding that, listen, sooner or later, you’re going to get a break. I’m not looking for no handouts.

“It’s just more or less for me to just say, ‘Bruh, damn. Finally.’ Right? And 2020, man I’m about to sign, seal. I’m about to tie this year up, put a big knot on it. I can buy every single lock, key and throw away all of them. I don’t want to see no part of 2020, but it made me a better person. That, I do believe. And that’s something, being a part of this franchise is something that you just don’t wash away that stench, that aura of being a Patriot. It’s something that’s in you. Being around arguably the greatest coach of all time and looking at him from afar, because I obviously, my living method may not be as his living methods. He wears jeans and a bubble coat or Patriots gear every single day. And meanwhile I’m Polo down, Moncler down, you know what I’m saying? Meshika hat, shades. That’s just my steez. I’m like, this cold, I ain’t ever been able to wear this jacket. Boom. Wearing it. And it still teaches you different methods of being producing and having production in this league. And I’ll never forget that.”

Newton could be playing his final game as a member of the Patriots Sunday against the Jets.

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