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One former NFL MVP is more than happy to serve as a mentor to Baltimore Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson.
According to The Undefeated’s William C. Rhoden, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was among the players around the NFL to reach out to Jackson after the former Louisville Cardinals star was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens last April.
“The first thing he did was say, ‘Here’s my number, give it to Lamar and tell Lamar to give me a call,'” Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome told Rhoden.
To Newton, it was important for Jackson to have someone to be able to turn to as he took his non-traditional game to the NFL.
“I just wanted to be a vessel or an outlet for him,” Newton told Rhoden. “I just know being an African-American quarterback in this league, you’re facing different things than another quarterback might be facing and a lot of it is, your gift may be your curse. Your running ability may be something that people look down upon.”
Of course, Newton and Jackson are both members of the Heisman fraternity. Both players dazzled at the collegiate level with the help of their legs, so they have some similarities in their skill sets.
However, there are some glaring difference in their respective games. Newton was the No. 1 overall pick back in 2011 because of his 6’5″, 245-pound build and a big arm. Meanwhile, questions surrounded both the 6’2″, 212-pound Jackson’s size and arm (57.0 percent completion rate at Louisville), leading him to fall all the way to the 32nd pick in the draft.
Regardless of their differences, Newton believes he can help Jackson adjust to life in the NFL.
“Now I look up and I see—here’s another quarterback, a young gunner who reminds me somewhat of myself,” Newton told Rhoden. “He may be doing it faster, he may be more elusive, but at the end of the day, I still want to make the road as easy as possible.”
“My thing has always been, ‘I’m not going to change.’ When I talk to Lamar, my main thing is, ‘Bro, do you. Be you, and that’s what a lot of people are afraid of, because when you’re comfortable with who you are, when you have that aura about yourself that nobody can really teach, that’s when you’re most dangerous.'”
Well, Jackson turned out to be one of the biggest storylines of the 2018 regular season, as he took over under center in Week 11 and led the No. 2 rushing attack while turning a 4-5 Ravens squad into the AFC North champs.