Cam Newton has a wish for Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III if the Baylor quarterback chooses to declare his eligibility for the NFL draft.
“I want people to say, ‘He can be the next Cam Newton,’ not ‘he can be the next JaMarcus Russell,’ ” Newton told ESPN The Magazine.
The Carolina Panthers’ star apparently remains miffed at pre-draft comparisons to Russell a year ago. Critics used Russell as a cautionary tale for teams rolling the dice on a big-bodied, one-year star from an SEC school.
Russell lasted only three seasons after the Oakland Raiders took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007. Russell’s only eye-popping number came from his expanding waistline.
Any comparisons between Newton and Russell now? Fat chance.
Newton today will cap the greatest NFL season by a rookie quarterback when the Panthers face the New Orleans Saints.
Newton has done damage with his arm (a rookie-record 3,893 passing yards), his legs (674 rushing yards and a rookie QB record 14 rushing touchdowns) and, in the biggest anti-Russell statement of all, with his leadership skills.
In his ESPN The Magazine interview, he acknowledged he was fueled by doubts that, like former Tennessee Titans first-round draft pick Vince Young, his work ethic would never match his prodigious physical skills.
“I blame JaMarcus Russell and to some degree Vince Young,” Newton said. “If you have the opportunity to make that kind of money doing something you love to do, why would you (mess) it up? I’m trying to be a trailblazer.”
VIKINGS’ BENNY SAPP CITED FOR ASSAULT
Police said Minnesota Vikings cornerback Benny Sapp was cited for fifth-degree assault and careless driving, both misdemeanors, after a run-in with security at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis.
Officers were called Friday after Sapp and his 11-year-old son tried to enter the hospital through a closed entrance, police said. The Star Tribune reported that Sapp left his son with a hospital security guard, saying the boy’s mother was inside and he had to go to work.
Sapp allegedly pushed a security officer who tried to detain him in the parking ramp, then chest-bumped a security officer who was standing in front of his vehicle.
The Chiefs put running back Jackie Battle on injured reserve and signed running back Shaun Draughn off their practice squad. … The Cowboys signed quarterback Chris Greisen off their practice squad. … The Cardinals signed cornerback Marshay Green off their practice squad.