Cam Newton's letter to son: 'Don't be like me ... be better'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton recently told us he planned a unique and special present for his son, Chosen, who turned 1 on Christmas Eve.

He delivered that on Wednesday with an open letter to Chosen on the Players’ Tribune.

Here is the video post:

The video begins with a picture of Newton smiling in the hospital next to longtime girlfriend Kia Proctor prior to his son’s birth. Then it flashes forward to a picture of Newton, on top of a hill, tossing his son into the air.

The video begins with exclusive pictures of Chosen seen for the first time as Newton reads the letter:

“This promise I tell you. I look at you and I am amazed by God’s creation. Don’t be like me son. Be better than me. And create your own inspiration. So you won’t expect something for nothing. Just hard work and determination. I wrote this thinking to myself. Like, dang, I really have a son now. And I guess it’s true what they say. Time flies, because Chosen is almost one now. Your mom is the best thing to happen to me. Yet I have failed in some regards, but I still love her unconditionally. Don’t be like me son, be better than me. You don’t have to be an athlete to be accepted by me. You can be whatever you want to be. But whatever you decide, I challenge you to be the best. I may not be able to tell you when, where and how, but there will be a test. And that test comes in many forms, sizes and shapes, too. It’s my job as your father to prepare you as much as I can, so you will know exactly what to do. When you sleep, I look in amazement as you breathe. But it hurts my heart to look back at your face in disappointment when I leave. You’re everything I could have ever asked for. When I’m not with you it hurts me to my core. At times, I’m not proud of the man that I am. Some of my decisions are far from perfect. But do know when it comes to you and this family, I will always do what I can. I had to sacrifice some things, and I made it all worth it. Let no one tell you you’re not strong, that you’re not a king. My main responsibility is to see your heart gleam. Make sure you protect the queens of your heart. That’s your mom and your sister -- and remember that real men aren’t afraid of the dark. So son, be brave, be strong, be bold. And always remember the things I’ve told, King Cho. I pray for your blessings and I pray for your peace. I pray I am the most influential person in your life until the day I am deceased. Chosen, I will always be there when you need me. And I am writing this for you to see. To show you how much I love you, and what a real man is supposed to be. I love you son. And remember always: Love and be true. And most of all be unique. And be beautifully you. This promise I tell you.’’

The video ends with Newton standing on a hill looking away from the camera with Chosen on his head looking back at the camera.

Newton said two weeks ago that he wanted to do something special for Chosen’s first birthday and Christmas because at 1 his son wouldn’t remember typical presents.

“Now his mom is all into buying him stuff... We’ve got to get him this. We’ve got to get him that. We’ve got to get him these shoes. We’ve got to get that car," Newton said. “I’m like, ‘He’s not even going to remember what his outfit was.’

“I want to be able to do something for him that he will go back and look and track over the years."

Newton also wanted to share pictures of his son for all those that have been asking about him.

"Every time I go out everybody always asks, ‘Why can’t we see his face? I want to see Chosen. How’s Chosen doing?'" Newton said. “So after long thoughts, I figured after his first birthday I’m going to release a couple of pictures for everybody to see on his whole maturation to this point.

"I also am going to put a piece together. I think that’ll be something he can go back and look at that he can remember."

On Wednesday, Newton delivered on his promise.