Last week Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis raised The Rock's own eyebrows after praising Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who arrived in Cincinnati on Monday, for having it. It. So important, it is. It is everything; the cohesive gel that unites cities. It can be the difference between winning and losing, it being the true definition of character and leadership. Carson Palmer, we thought, once had it. Now we're not so sure it doesn't have him. I once had it. Then it gave me stiff backhand across the face.
"He’s got it,’’ Lewis said. "You’ve got to be a guy that is stand up, ready-to-take-control kind of guy.
"He’s gone through some adversity that’s been created around him. Some self-inflicted at times. Probably some inflicted by the environment around him at times. Some made up, probably. But whatever it is, he’s been successful. He shoulders responsibilities, and he’s done well with it.’’
Even Jon Gruden, the elder brother of Bengals offensive coordinator Jay, praised Newton only with the extremity that Gruden knows. "I think Cam Newton’s the best player in the country," said Jon Gruden. "He’s got everything I’m looking for." Clearly, Gruden thinks Newton has it also. Probability that Gruden says that about most prospect quarterbacks in this year's draft? High.
What I can tell you is, there are some signs that the Bengals will absolutely consider Newton at No. 4 if the Carolina Panthers don't take him at No. 1. The comments that Marvin Lewis made to the Bengals' website about Newton were eye-opening. He essentially said that if Newton is on the board at No. 4, and Lewis has his way, then Newton will be Cincinnati's new quarterback. Most people other than Mike Brown agree that Carson Palmer will never play quarterback for the Bengals again, so Cincinnati must address the quarterback position in two-plus weeks, and Newton definitely is in play.