SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Cam Newton's return to social media has featured a lot of "receipts" and "going back for seconds."
But his frequent Instagram posts have nothing to do with shopping or eating. They're always about his workouts – early in the morning, late at night and any time in between.
"Number one, it's for motivation. It's motivational content, that's all it is," Newton said. "And two, it just keeps me on my P's and Q's. The responses that I get via comments, via direct messages, has been almost life-changing, to be honest with you."
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2017 season, Newton wiped his Instagram page clean. But he eventually returned to his nearly four million followers in the summer, explaining that he felt compelled to inspire.
"When you get people that you may not ever get to see or talk to, this is their only chance to communicate with you or to express their interest or tell you certain things that they're going through – when you read and hear those stories it's gratifying," Newton said. "Just showing a person that I'm up at the times that I'm up, that I'm working as much as I'm working, you know, it's inspiring them.
"And to be honest with you, nothing about me has changed, only thing that's different is that I'm just documenting it. Last year was when I started implementing doing extra cardio before actual practice and nobody too much knew about it, but now that I'm documenting the things that I'm doing everybody's like, you know 'Oh, Cam's on his stuff.' No, I've been doing it I just haven't been showing people. But now I see that a lot of people are vicariously living through me and they're looking forward to certain things."
Newton added he hopes to be "positively contagious" in all aspects of his life. That's what's behind his Instagram presence and his antics on the football field.
"Nobody wants to be around a person that's slumped over or always being a pessimist," Newton said. "They want to be around a person who is gonna bring light and optimism to every situation. And a person may look at it like 'aw, Cam's dancing,' 'aw, Cam's always smiling,' 'aw, Cam's always joking,' but it's deeper than that.
"Practices like today, having full pads and hot sun, finding any and everything to make sure that you're holding yourself accountable and you're doing something that somebody could look at you and say, 'OK, he's doing it, I can do it to.'"
CAM VIBING WITH TEPPER: After Newton heard David Tepper was going to be the new owner of the Carolina Panthers, he asked the same question you probably did.
"What is he going to be like?"
Well, the star quarterback and face of the franchise came away from the initial meetings with Tepper impressed with his honesty and enthused by his drive to succeed.
"He was an open book for us," Newton said, "and I think that's extremely important because it's been a lot of unknowns for him, so to speak, because we didn't know."
As Tepper watched the opening practice of training camp from the sideline, he remarked to Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney how entertaining it was to watch Newton practice with so much energey. Tepper was so caught up he even mimicked Newton's dance moves.
"I'm excited knowing that we have a very lively owner," Newton said. "And the first thing he said is he wants to win, so that alone should get anybody excited."
A NEW DAD (AGAIN): When people look at Newton, they see the 6-foot-5, chiseled physique and say he was born to be a star athlete.
Rivera has seen that for the last seven years. But the head coach also sees a man who was made for fatherhood.
"I think it's one of those things where this guy was meant to be a dad," Rivera said. "We spent some time with him and he had Chosen with him. And you could just see it. It's really a lot of fun. He's the kind of guy that the more life experiences he has, the better he is."
Newton and his girlfriend Kia welcomed their fourth child on July 6. And for now, the name of their youngest son remains under wraps.
"Every single time I look at all my kids, it just gives me more purpose," Newton said. "I'm extremely happy. I'm at a point in my life where it's refreshing. I don't have to go into the season anticipating a phone call. I'm super happy that it happened before the season."