Newton Thanks Auburn Family For Support

Heisman Trophy Cameron Newton made it clear that he appreciates his teammates, coaches and Auburn football fans.

Auburn, Ala.--A fan favorite throughout the season, Cameron Newton's farewell address to the Auburn Family heavily emphasized his appreciation for the support he received throughout his Heisman Trophy season.

Speaking in front close to 80,000 fans on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium as Auburn celebrated its 2010 national football championship, he stated, "As I have said many times I am a blessed man."

"I am blessed that God gave me the ability to play this game that I love. I am blessed to have a wonderful loving family that has been 'all in' in support of me since the day I was born.

"I was blessed to have been part of a special group of men, men who laid everything on the line every time we put on the uniform," Newton said. "I have created friendships that will last a lifetime. These guys are my brothers."

Asked about when he realized the 2010 Tigers could have a special season, the quarterback said it went back to the spring and summer when he saw the leadership developing on the team on and off the football field. He point out that the team had a speaker who made an impact on the squad. "His focus was one day at a time, one play at a time," said the quarterback, he noted that is how the Tigers approached the whole season with no looking ahead.

Newton, a redshirt junior, could have stayed for another season, but declared his eligibility for the 2011 NFL Draft. He is projected to be as high as an early first round draft pick.

Asked about the possibility of an NFL strike potentially sidelining him next season now that he has declared for the draft, Newton said, "That is the risk you have to take."

Every Auburn player was individually introduced on Saturday as part of an hour-long celebration of the national championship season. On a stage with his teammates, who finished the season with a 14-0 record, Newton had special praise for Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and his assistants, who the quarterback said is the best coaching staff in college football.

"There is a reason Coach Chizik has been undefeated not once, not twice but three times in the last seven years," Newton said. "And as you play for Coach Chizik, you understand why. He is a true leader of men. I am thankful to have been coached by one of the brightest offensive minds in the business, Coach Malzahn."

Gus Malzahn was Newton's position coach and the offensive coordinator for an Auburn team that set a school record for total offense and another for points per game at more than 41 per contest.

Cameron Newton gives his Heisman pose on Saturday.

Newton, who led the SEC in rushing and total offense, was a big part of the offense's success. Addressing the crowd, he said, "You never stopped believing me. People have asked me over and over, how did I handle the distractions? The simple answer is God, family and you, my Auburn Family. You never lost faith in me and that means more to me than words can ever say. You will be in my heart forever."

Newton said the size of the crowd really surprised him. "I was speechless for the most part," he said. "I didn't really expect for it to be like that...That just goes to show what type of fan support we have. It was amazing."

The quarterback drew one of the biggest cheers of the day in his speech when he quoted from the Auburn Creed saying, "I believe in Auburn and love it."

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