Cam knows to talk to Bo.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he has kept a steady stream of communication with Bo Jackson, a fellow Auburn alumnus and star athlete, about personal and professional life and how to deal with injury.
Newton and Jackson are larger than life in Auburn. Both men have a 10-foot bronze statue of themselves on campus for winning the Heisman in 2010 and 1985, respectively.
Newton, who’s in a walking boot following offseason ankle surgery that will keep him out of team activities until training camp, said Tuesday he has been “leaning toward” Jackson as a mentor who had been injured in the past.
“Bo is kind of like my long-lost big brother,” Newton said. “He’s a guy who I know and can trust that can keep it 100, as we say, keep it real with me as far as personal life or professional life.
“He’s helped me out so much in my career now and any time you have a guy of that magnitude that you can reach out and ask questions, that’s what I do.”
Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 when he rushed for 1,786 yards as a senior at Auburn. He went on to star for the Raiders while also playing baseball for the Royals and White Sox.
Jackson has plenty to share with Newton about injuries. He injured his hip in the early ’90s and, despite a baseball comeback, wasn’t the same player afterward.
Newton’s ankle injury isn’t considered to be career-threatening. The injury dates back to his days at Auburn, and following the playoff loss to San Francisco, the pain never subsided. He decided to have surgery in March to tighten up the ligaments.
Jackson has been a wealth of knowledge for other Heisman winners. He reportedly recently told Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman winner who’s also from Jackson’s hometown, to follow his heart in deciding whether to pursue baseball or football.
Newton has also been a resource for Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner. Manziel said he spoke to Newton for nearly two hours last year on how to handle the fame that came with winning the award.
“He’s a fun-loving, fun-natured guy,” Manziel said at the scouting combine in February, “and I’m really thankful to be able to pick up the phone and call him if I ever need anything.”
Jones: 704-358-5323; Twitter: @jjones9