Cam Newton says his dreadlocks are a reason he is not on an NFL roster. Newton did not play in 2022.
Cam Newton is not his 2015 MVP self anymore, but the three-time Pro Bowler says there’s another reason why he’s still a free agent.
Over the years, Newton has grown out his hair for dreadlocks, and he suggests that’s a reason why he remained unsigned throughout the 2022 season and is still looking for a job.
“It’s been hindered. And I’m not changin’,” he said on Josina Anderson’s “Undefined” podcast.
“People have hinted towards to say like, ‘Cam, we want you to go back to the 2015 clean-cut Cam. But that was a different me. Right now, where I’m at, it’s about embracing who I am.”
The New England Patriots signed him during his dreadlocks phase, and he started 15 games for them in 2020. He returned to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 and played in eight games.
But before rejoining the team that selected him with the first pick in 2011, he said teams were insinuating he should have gotten a haircut.
“There was hints toward it,” he said, via Bleacher Report. “And I gained a lot of great counsel from a lot of people. And the thing that is always mentioned is, ‘Yo, Cam, you scarin’ people the way you look.’
“And I would say, ‘Yo, like I’m not gonna name names, but there’s other quarterbacks that’s in the league that don’t look like me, but they got long hair. They don’t scare them, do they?’ So, we can go tit for tat, tat for tit with it. But I would just turn and nod to that and say, ‘That’s not the reason why I’m not in the NFL.'”
Newton reportedly turned down an offer from at least one team last season.
He has said previously he does not plan on cutting his hair until one of his daughters gets married.
Since helping the 15-1 Panthers to a Super Bowl during his MVP season, Newton has gone 30-36 as a starter with an 81.4 quarterback rating. His last Pro Bowl nod was in 2015.