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Cam Newton is Doing a Vegan Ad Campaign for PETA

ESPN - Last year, as he was coming back from offseason shoulder surgery and a sprained foot in the preseason, [Cam] Newton said going vegan helped him feel like a rookie again. His plant-based diet also sparked a notable discussion on ESPN's Outside The Lines last October. 

And Newton is sticking with the vegan diet in 2020.

"I've seen such a remarkable change in the way my body responds to the food that I eat," Newton said as part of new vegan campaign for PETA, a nonprofit organization that promotes kindness to animals.

Listed on the Patriots' roster at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, Newton wore a "Vegan Strong" shirt as he delivered his remarks.

"I don't want people to think you can't love food being vegan, or there's not good-tasting food that's vegan," he said. "A person may ask, 'How do you get your protein?' ... You get it in the same way that they get it, know what I'm saying? The more cleaner, more fresher way."

It had to happen sooner or later. From the moment Cam Newton signed with New England, every move he's made has been perfection. His workout videos. His throwing sessions with his new teammates. The statements he's made. Everything has pointed to him being just the right guy to replace the irreplaceable guy. Until now. Until this. 

I'm not going to judge. If Newton believes the key to recovering from multiple surgeries all over his various moneymaker body parts is to eat like a herbivore, who am I to question his wisdom? Other than a sedentary, overweight man with a burger addiction and a cholesterol level struggling to stay under 200. And at least he's making this move from a dietary point of view. He's not aligning himself those weirdo PETA extremists who want to change the name of Fishkill, NY, want to eliminate expressions like "beat a dead horse" or believe nonsense like, "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." The man is just trying to eat right. 

With that as a disclaimer, I'd be lying if I said I'm not disappointed. After 20 years of following another preposterously talented quarterback with crackpot eating habits, I was hoping for someone a little more relatable to the guys in the stands. The great unwashed. Those slobs with their 30-inch waistband jeans tucked under their 46-inch bellies who just three sausages and two dozen shrimp in the parking lot.

The publisher of "The TB12 Method" book sent me a copy. There's not a recipe in there I would ever remotely try. The first one is a Fresh Veggie Lasagne, where the pasta is replaced with zucchini, summer squash and carrots, the "cheese" is ground up raw cashews and the "meat" is walnuts. Another is The Brady Bowl, which is lemongrass, sweet potatoes, kale and broccoli. It all reads like the food you'd forage for in a survival situation if there were no animals to hunt. Or as my Spirit Animal Ron Swanson put it, 

I just thought it might be a nice break to finally have a quarterback with the diet Joe Namath had when he was washing down a 24 oz Porterhouse with three highballs at Toots Shorr's, and then taking two cocktail waitresses back to his apartment afterwards. A guy who ate the way Brett Favre or Peyton Manning did. Just regular, moderately nutritious but immensely satisfying comfort food. Not stuff they serve to Buddhist monks.

But nope. Some quarterbacks are different than you and me. They choose to live Spartan lives of self-denial in their relentless pursuit of excellence. Assuming Newton gets the starter's job, we're looking at yet another year following a quarterback with strange dietary habits, fashion-forward wardrobes and often unique hairstyles. At least we've got decades of experience with it. 

Besides, with any luck, his diet will give Newton Vegan Powers.

"Short answer: Being Vegan just makes you better than most people." I hope.