Cam Newton and Urban Meyer Cam Newton and Urban Meyer

Before Cam Newton won a Heisman Trophy with the Auburn Tigers and became the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, he was with the Florida Gators under head coach Urban Meyer, behind quarterback Tim Tebow on the depth chart. And even though things obviously didn’t work out at Florida, it sounds like Newton still owes a lot of his growth to those years.

During a recent appearance on ‘Pardon My Take,’ Cam Newton opened up about his relationship with Urban Meyer following suspension from Florida due to an arrest and his eventual transfer from the program.

“It was stagnant for so many years. I mean, it’s not like I’ve got his number now, but the first time I saw Urban was at a Tim Tebow event. I think it was like my third or fourth year in the NFL,” Cam Newton recalled. “And they weren’t used to people leaving and having success. That was kind of their thing, like, ‘Well, what’s better than Florida?’ In 2008, it was Title Town USA. They had Joakim Noah in basketball, Tim Tebow, Chris Leak in football. And during that time, I don’t think they knew a rose could be created from concrete. It was just so hard to believe.

“So when I thrust back onto the scene at Auburn, it was like, ‘How could you let this guy leave?’ And everybody was scrambling like, ‘No, he left because there was so many different reports about this. He stole a laptop and this and that.’”

But despite the rocky end to his time with Florida, it’s clear that both Meyer and Tebow played an important role in his life.

“I approached him. And I was like, ‘Man, listen, let all bygones be bygones. Coach, I appreciate you. You raised me,’” Newton said. “But a lot of who I am, I owe it to Urban Meyer, and especially Tim Tebow. The mentality, the grit, the preparation, the attitude, the persona. All of that. I learned it initially at the University of Florida.”