Sources: Cam Newton thrown for loop

Updated: February 27, 2011, 10:08 AM ET
By Adam Schefter | ESPN

During an interview in Indianapolis at the NFL combine on Thursday night, an unidentified team cracked the poise former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton tried to display while meeting with the media Saturday, a league source said.

According to the source, an NFL assistant coach questioned Newton about why he disobeyed his coach's orders in the BCS National Championship Game. Newton ran a quarterback sneak toward the end of the game rather than take a knee as he was instructed.

Newton was not expecting the NFL to ask him about the incident and did not have a favorable reaction, according to league sources. He got defensive, sources said.

Asked about the interviews, Newton said, "Each and every team keeps you on your toes."

Before taking a single question during his long-awaited appearance before the media at the NFL scouting combine, Newton attempted to put out a different fire.

In a prepared statement, the former Auburn quarterback tried to clarify a recent comment in which he described himself as "not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon."

Newton noticed the wave of negative reaction and felt he was misunderstood. The Heisman Trophy winner spent his first minute at the podium on Saturday explaining where his focus will be in the future, and later said that he was at fault for being unclear.

"First and foremost, I understand that my obligation is to be the best possible football player I can be," he said. "I know and believe that."

His comment drew such a reaction because some say his swagger teeters on the edge of pure arrogance. In roughly 12 minutes at the podium, he referred to himself in the third person three times. When asked if some mistake his confidence for cockiness, he said: "I'm not sure, but I'm a confident person, and it was instilled in myself at an early age to believe in myself."

Controversy, it seems, follows Newton.

Cam has said his relationship with his father is good, months after a controversy involving Cecil called Cam's eligibility at Auburn into question.

The NCAA ruled in December that Cam was unaware of the pay-for-play scheme created by Cecil and the owner of a scouting service. Cecil Newton and Kenny Rogers -- a former Mississippi State player who worked for an agent -- sought money for the quarterback to play for the Bulldogs.

Newton said Saturday at the NFL scouting combine that the scrutiny helped he and his father become closer.

Newton won the Heisman Trophy and a national championship before declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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