Pictured above: Cam Newton serves guests at his annual Thanksgiving event – Picture courtesy of Panthers.com
CHARLOTTE (PANTHERS.COM) – Quarterback Cam Newton is Carolina’s 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee.
Panthers.com reports the award recognizes community service as well as excellence on the field, and while injuries have hampered the former NFL MVP the past two seasons, Newton’s commitment to community efforts has been tireless and far-reaching.
Newton established his own foundation in 2012, identifying three pillars of focus: EVERY 1 PLAYS (youth activity, mentoring high school players), EVERY 1 GIVES (donations and community outreach) and EVERY 1 LEARNS (diversity and societal education). Together, they make up the foundation’s guiding principle and Newton’s personal belief of EVERY 1 MATTERS.
Since inception, the foundation has provided $5.13 million in grant funding, year-round programming resources and donations to schools and non-profit agencies in Atlanta and Charlotte. Over 12,500 student-athletes and coaches have participated in Newton’s EVERY 1 PLAYS initiative and over 11,850 need-based youth have been provided meals and gifts through Newton’s signature annual programs: “Cam’s Thanksgiving Jam” and “Santa Cam’s Surprise Sleigh.”
Newton’s off-the-field efforts are significant and purposeful, but perhaps his greatest legacy has been growing the sport of football at the grassroots level and using the game as a gateway to mentor youth. Newton’s passion and enthusiasm for high school football is exemplified by his annual 7-on-7 tournament which featured four events, 85 high school teams and over 2,000 student-athletes in 2019.
Newton’s 7-on-7 All-Star team also affords the opportunity to counsel and prepare elite high school players for the next step in their football development. Since 2011, 450 student-athletes have participated in the program including 20 future Collegiate Academic All-Americans, 10 current and former NFL players and 75 student-athletes currently playing collegiate football. Notable players who have benefitted from Newton’s mentorship include Deshaun Watson (QB, Houston Texans), Michael Gallup (WR, Dallas Cowboys), Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State) and Jadon Haselwood (WR, Oklahoma University).
Selected first overall in the 2011 draft after earning the Heisman Trophy and leading Auburn to the 2010 BCS National Championship, Newton was the consensus choice as the NFL MVP in 2015, becoming the first player in NFL history with at least 30 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns in a single season.
For his career, Newton’s 58 rushing touchdowns are the most by a quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger and he ranks third all-time in NFL history for rushing yards by a quarterback, trailing only Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham. Moreover, his 240 total touchdowns (182 passing, 58 rushing) in his first eight seasons stand third in NFL history, trailing only Peyton Manning and Dan Marino. A Pro Bowl selection in 2011, 2013 and 2015, Newton is the only player in NFL history to produce at least six seasons with 3,000 or more passing yards and 500 or more rushing yards at any point in a career.
This article originally appeared at Panthers.com.