CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton got two early birthday presents when the Carolina Panthers selected running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Curtis Samuel in the first two rounds of the NFL draft. They were much-needed toys for the quarterback, who didn’t have such a good season as a 27-year-old.
OK, it was the worst of his career.
Newton turns 28 on Thursday. Short of a Super Bowl victory, there’s not much more the first pick of the 2011 draft could want for -- on or off the field. He already has a college football championship, Heisman Trophy, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, NFL MVP Award, trip to the Super Bowl and two children whom he adores.
Newton shared Thursday on Instagram how he is celebrating his big day.
A year ago, the 27th birthday of the league’s most polarizing player was celebrated here with a list of his 27 most memorable quotes.
Today we’ll go with 28 things you may or may not know about Cameron Jerrell Newton:
1. He loves stogies. Don’t believe it? Check out his Instagram feed, in which he’s often pictured enjoying what one can only imagine is a fine Cuban cigar.
2. He has a personal photographer who follows him around the field and town documenting all the moments he shares on social media -- and some that he doesn’t share.
3. He has his own hatmaker based in California who makes him one-of-a-kind lids. OK, everyone should know this by now if they paid attention to Newton at all last season. If you didn’t, perhaps this story and this picture will help.
4. He likes feathers. They are the signature item of his hats.
5. He isn't particularly accurate as a passer. He has never completed 62 percent of his passes in a season and is coming off a career-worst 52.9 percent. That’s why McCaffrey and Samuel are such big presents.
6. He was once Tim Tebow's backup. That was at Florida. Tebow is now an outfielder for the Columbia (South Carolina) Fireflies, the New York Mets' Class A baseball team.
7. He has a girlfriend, Kia Proctor, with whom he has fathered two children, Chosen Sebastian and Sovereign-Dior Cambella.
9. He’s been sacked or hit 922 times since 2011. That’s by far the most in the NFL during that span. Seattle’s Russell Wilson is second with 615.
10. He’s been on the cover of GQ magazine.
11. His older brother, Cecil Newton Jr., spent time in the NFL as a center for Jacksonville, New Orleans, Green Bay and Baltimore.
12. He rolled his Dodge pickup truck on the way to Bank of America Stadium in 2015.
13. He actually won two national championships in college, one at Auburn and the other at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
14. He has his own clothing line, Made Cam Newton from Belk.
15. He loves bow ties -- he calls them his “feather swag" -- made by a company named Brackish based in Charleston, South Carolina.
16. Among the many products he endorses are Under Armour and Oikos Greek yogurt.
17. He appeared with supermodel Miranda Kerr in a Super Bowl commercial. Or she appeared with him. You pick.
18. He has his own food truck, Smokn' Aces, where you can get the best shrimp po'boy in town.
19. His first child, Chosen, was born on Christmas Eve in 2015 -- and he celebrated Chosen’s first birthday with a very special video message.
21. He’s a pescatarian, which means he eats fish and other seafood but not the flesh of other animals.
22. He doesn’t always make the best fashion choices.
23. He likes to sit with the media prior to taking his spot at the podium for his weekly Wednesday press conference.
24. His favorite car is a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass with 24-karat gold plating on the grill, bumpers and rims.
25. He hosted a Nickelodeon television show last offseason called “All In with Cam Newton."
26. He idolizes boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
27. He’s rehabbing from offseason surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff that will keep him from throwing until training camp.
28. He’s probably somewhere having a good time right now, judging by his latest Instagram post.