Cam Newton sheds light on his time with Florida Football

Newton was with the program for two seasons in Gainesville before transferring
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of the great what ifs in Florida Football history is what if Cam Newton had stuck around in Gainesville? As the story goes, Newton came to Gainesville in 2007 and was the backup for Tim Tebow. In 2008 he had an ankle injury that knocked him out, and he subsequently left the team following an arrest in November for stealing laptop.

Newton would transfer to a JUCO program before triumphantly leading Auburn to a national title and the Carolina Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl 50.

Appearing with Shannon Sharp on the Club Shay Shay podcast, Newton shed some new light into his time with Florida and poked some holes into some preconceived narratives surrounding his time in Gainesville.

Florida Football: Behind The Scenes

The main headline from the interview most people will grasp onto is Newton's claim that Florida's locker room was filled with toxicity. Much like we have heard others comment on, Newton claims the Netflix series Swamp Kings left out a ton of elements that would have painted the Gators in a negative light.

"That was a very toxic locker room. We still had success, but damn it was a combination of a lot of talent that was boiling over. And there was times where it was just unmanageable and there were also times where it was a thing of beauty where it was a competition everyday, every practice. "

Cam Newton

Newton would go on to compliment Tebow for his energy and willingness to compete, but he also highlighted the dynamic between the two and how Tebow was the ultimate reason Newton wound up transferring.

The way Newton tells his story, he was led to believe he was going to come in during the 2007 season and have four to five plays a game similar to what Tebow had his freshman year. That isn't what wound up happening as Newton was only used in five games, where he did rush for 103 yards off 16 carries and three touchdowns.

Then, in 2008, Newton was hurt in the season opener against Hawaii and wasn't seen for the rest of the season.

The way most Gator fans understand the story is that Newton was arrested in November of 2008 for stealing a laptop, which led to his exile from Gainesville. However, according to Newton, he was planning on leaving with or without the laptop incident.

"I didn't get kicked out of Florida. I left Florida. When Tebow announced that 'Oh by the way I'm coming back,' I said 'I gotta leave now'. I wasn't playing when you was here. And then for Urban's (Meyer) sake you couldn't even identify who the backup was between me and John Brantly. We fighting for scraps, y'all can have this"

Cam Newton

Remember this was before the days of the transfer portal, and Urban Meyer had full control to prevent Newton from transferring to anyone in state or to another SEC foe. So, if Newton genuinely left of his own volition, then he had to have genuinely wanted out.

Whether or not Newton could have actually stayed will remain a mystery, though it was reported at the time that Newton was facing expulsion from Florida as a whole.