Cam Newton speaks on Auburn tragedy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton is the face of the Carolina Panthers these days.

But the second-year quarterback forever will be tied to Auburn University, where he led the Tigers to a national championship. Newton talked at length about the upcoming season and I’ll have all of that in a column that’s coming Thursday. But Newton also was asked about the recent shootings at Auburn in which two former players were killed and a current player was among several others injured.

“I knew every single one of them," Newton said. “My heart goes out to the families that lost their son, their brother, their nephew. It’s disheartening just to even think about it. They were freshmen when I was there. Just to hear something like that, that’s very uncharacteristic of Auburn. It’s a very safe place.''

Newton, who usually is very animated and cheerful with the media, was extremely somber and, at times, struggled for words as he discussed the tragedies.

“That’s very uncharacteristic of Auburn, Alabama. For people that know of that and are from that region, they know that’s something that is very, very strange.’’