Just got a call from ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, whose side I will be working at in Charlotte during the draft. Paolantonio is already in Charlotte and I’ll be there Wednesday evening.
Paolantonio caught up with Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney as he emerged from a meeting with the team’s scouts and got an interview.
Paolantonio was kind enough to give me a rundown of the interview and read off some of Hurney’s quotes. Not sure if it was because the quotes were coming through Paolantonio's voice, but they sounded a bit more interesting than the typical Hurney quotes.
Paolantonio asked Hurney about Cam Newton’s alleged problems at the University of Florida, which included reports of a stolen computer and some academic improprieties. Hurney said he personally spent a lot of time investigating Newton’s time at Florida and is convinced whatever happened was a youthful indiscretion and not a pattern of behavior that will follow him to the NFL.
Hurney has also spent plenty of time investing Newton’s time at Blinn College and Auburn University. In fact, I’m pretty sure, Hurney’s looked at least as far back as Newton’s days in junior high. He said he’s not worried about Newton’s background. Hurney said his ultimate choice with what to do with the No. 1 pick will be a football decision.
“(Newton is) an exceptional athlete, who has all the tools to succeed at the NFL level,’’ Hurney said.
Paolantonio then asked the question that’s on everybody’s mind these days: “Does Newton want to be great?’’
“He is definitely driven to be great,’’ Hurney said.
Hurney probably won’t say anything final until Thursday night. I’ve been saying for several weeks that all signs point to the Panthers drafting Newton. Paolantonio said he heard and saw nothing that would make him think otherwise and said all signs point to the Panthers going with Newton and they “feel he has the DNA to be a successful pro quarterback’’.
Paolantonio also said that Hurney said he still has not received any offers to trade the pick.