Cam Newton has generated almost as much discussion with his press conferences as he has with his play. They have bordered on the absurd.
The ridiculousness all culminated in last week's "suggestion box" fiasco. Newton desperately needed someone to sit him down and help him sort through a few things.
Presumably, somebody has.
Newton looked like a different man in his press conference following the Carolina Panthers' heartbreaking 23-22 loss to the Chicago Bears. He didn't sulk. He stood up straight and actually addressed the media head-on.
Cam has learned some lessons. Now let's discuss the lessons that he practiced today.
Newton Can Keep His Emotions Under Control
The first thing noticed was, as mentioned above, he was standing up straight. His chin didn't quiver, and his voice stayed steady.
Basically, Cam showed that he wasn't going to let the moment define him. He could let it go.
Being able to quickly forget past events is imperative for a professional football player. In fact, it's the most important lesson that an athlete must learn.
Newton Isn't Worrying About It
To be clear, Newton didn't just ignore everything surrounding him and the club. He acknowledged that "a lot was being said, I understand."
But he went on to say that he "doesn't read it," and only hears it "to a degree." Then he added that he can't allow that to affect his play.
Newton hasn't been able to get by with only his physical tools in the NFL as he had in the past. He needed to learn how to become mentally tough.
This lesson goes hand-in-hand with being able to move on from less-than-perfect happenings.
Newton Took Responsibility
Another great lesson for any leader is taking responsibility and not throwing your cohorts under the bus.
Cam took that lesson to heart after the Bears game.
He stated that they all need to look at what they need to improve on, starting with himself. He understood that everyone is working hard and that he needed to look forward.
Taking his coaches to task for not having the answers was a poor decision last week. Newton now gets that.
And it all ties into the lessons above. They are three components to becoming a better player and person.
Does this mean that everything is going to be okay now? That Newton has finished maturing?
Probably not. But he has taken three steps forward instead of a giant leap back.