Earlier this offseason, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane called quarterback Cam Newton a “misunderstood” guy. Beane is familiar with Newton as the two spent numerous years together with the Carolina Panthers organization.
For the first time since joining the Bills this offseason, linebacker AJ Klein spoke from Buffalo’s training camp via video conference on Wednesday. One of the reasons Klein joins the Bills is because of the Carolina connections in the building like Beane.
Translation: Klein also knows Newton very, very well, andhe echoed very much of what Beane previously said about Newton in late March.
Beane said he wouldn’t have earned a GM job himself without Newton’s skills on the field, stating he thinks the QB deserved a second chance as a starter because that new team will get a player bringing a “chip on his shoulder” to their locker room.
Well what do you know… Klein doubled down for Beane this week.
“I know Cam is one of the… he’s a competitive person. Being around for my four years [in Carolina] and being able to compete against him the last three years (in New Orleans)… I know he’s going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder this year. He’s, when healthy, and I hope he remains healthy… he’s usually the best athlete on the field. That’s a scary thought, thought a guy that’s 6-6, 250-plus pounds,” Klein said. “He has arm strength, he has the ability to run the ball, he’s a dynamic player and he’s always a threat.”
But as Klein said, when healthy. That’s the big question for the potential new signal caller for the 11-time reigning AFC East champions.
No one is going to fill Tom Brady’s shoes, but Newton appears to be the front-runner because of his past. The 30-year-old is a former MVP winner (while he was in the building with Beane and Klein) and his competition for the job, Jarrett Stidham, is essentially still a rookie. Newton can be good, but even if healthy, we might be seeing a different guy now, for better or worse for the Pats’ sake.
But don’t think for a minute that Klein’s going to be nervous about facing Newton as a division foe once again, though. The circumstances between the Saints and Panthers are a little different than the Bills and Patriots over recent memory, but Klein’s ready for another challenge against his former teammate while both wear different colors.
“I look forward to being able to compete against him again. I didn’t expect him to end up in the same division again, but he reached out to me not too long ago… I can speak on his character and who he is, he tries to get the guys around him better, and he definitely cares about his teammates and I know he’ll put his best foot forward,” Klein said.
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