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Pay up, Cam, with a Super Bowl!

Cameron Jerrell “Just call me Cam” Newton has been the center of attention his whole football career: Atlanta high school hero, national champion back-up at Florida, a junior college national championship at Blinn College, a bigger national championship at Auburn, a Heisman for his trophy case, number-one draft pick plus rookie-of-the-year; and then spending the last four years in Charlotte doing everything from throwing touchdown passes to darting through defenses to sulking with that towel over his head to flipping trucks to figuratively ripping open his jersey to reveal a big “S” on his chest.

Well now you can draw a couple of vertical parallel lines through that “S” because thanks to the gracious generosity of usually tightwad Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Cam’s not just Superman, he’s Super-Rich.

For Panther fans like me who sweated out the off-season wondering if Richardson was going to drag this out and potentially drag down his team’s season by delaying the inevitable, he may have prevented a distraction that could have threatened to de-rail his team’s season (you could insert Greg Hardy’s name right about here, but he ain’t Charlotte’s problem no more!).

In negotiations that lasted less than two weeks, General Manager Dave Gettleman got Richardson to knock the cobwebs off his checkbook and pony up a $103 million contract extension over the next five years; guaranteeing almost $70 million of it over the next three years. That was certainly enough to cause Cam to flash that Colgate-cleansed mega-watt smile.

“With me inking everything and finalizing everything, it just makes this whole process easier for me,” Cam told the Charlotte Observer. “Knowing that I don’t have to go into training camp having to answer these type questions or going into the season having to answer these questions.”

Cam’s right, it should be easier.

The next few weeks and months won’t be about uncertainty as to if or when he’ll get paid. You got it, and you’re the man, Cam; and now it’s time that I – and the rest of the fans – got paid, too.

We’ve got a lot riding on those 6’5” shoulders of yours, Cam. This is your team now, right or wrong, good or bad. To make sure we had the room to get your autograph on the new deal we even sent fan favorite Steve Smith shuffling off to Baltimore.

We’ve got a defense we feel confident in that can bail you out of some tough and tight spots when it seems nothing with the offense will click. After all, defensive wins can still mean we could be playing in January, deep into January, but it sure is a heckuva lot more fun when things are fueled by a charismatic quarterback: the face of the franchise, voice in the huddle, an overwhelming presence in the locker room.

Cam, you’re now the third-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL behind only Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh. But those two guys have something you don’t, Cam.  A shiny something called the Vince Lombardi Trophy (three of them between them).   Now are you beginning to sense what we want!?!

Oh, you don’t have to get too defensive about your paycheck. After all, you’re “easy enough on the eyes” to keep the cash register overflowing and ring up some mega-endorsements.  Need help?  Michael Jordan’s right down the street from you.

Well, I guess the only question that leaves, Cam, is what are you going to do next?

How about bringing us something that rhymes with “looser bank roll”?

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at gene.motley@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7211.