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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gus Malzahn says NFL needs to better protect Cam Newton

Cam Newton helmet

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn remains close with quarterback Cam Newton, and Newton remains close to the Tigers’ program that helped spur a National Championship and a successful NFL career.

When his schedule permits, Newton still returns to Auburn and takes some of the younger players under his wing. He interacts with the team, attends the games he can and helps Malzahn when the opportunity presents itself. Accordingly, it’s no surprise that Malzahn sung Newton’s praises during SEC Media Day on Thursday.

“Cam Newton is one of the better players to ever play college football. Obviously MVP of the league and took him to the Super Bowl and all that. Cam’s a great person,” Malzahn said via AU Now. “I’m very fond of Cam, not just what he’s done on the field, but off the field. The example he’s been for younger kids, he’s got a great heart for youth and the things that he does off the field.

“Cam will come back from time to time. He was at two of our games, I believe, last year. And when he has off time, he likes to come back to Auburn. It feels like home to him, but I’m very proud of Cam.”

Malzahn also chimed in on a relatively hot topic — the physical beating Newton takes on a week-to-week basis and whether or not the NFL should do more to protect him.

Spoiler: Malzahn doesn’t believe the NFL is doing a good enough job.

“With all the referees in the NFL, and all that, they need to protect him like they do the rest of the quarterbacks,” Malzahn said.

Newton has been publicly critical of the league and their referees over some of the hits he’s taken, and at one point last season, he even sat down with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss it.

In total, Newton was sacked 36 times and hit 93 times last season. That does not include the hits he took on his 90 rushing attempts, which could help explain why the Panthers prefer he not rush as often in 2017.

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