Auburn football legend never officially retired from NFL after all

I Am Iconic Live Tour With Brandon Marshall & Cam Newton - Atlanta, GA
I Am Iconic Live Tour With Brandon Marshall & Cam Newton - Atlanta, GA / Derek White/GettyImages

Though it seemed like he called it a career back in February, Auburn football legend Cam Newton came out and declared that he never actually retired from the NFL during the June 12 edition of his "4th&1" podcast.

"I haven't played football in four years," Newton said (h/t Bleacher Report). "Do I think somebody is going to take a chance on me now? No. That's me being honest. Cam, are you planning on retiring? No."

Newton had said he was "no football player no more" in early February; instead identifying as a YouTuber.

“I’m not a football player no more,” he said (h/t Boardroom). “I’m a YouTuber.

“So you’re asking me, ‘Okay Cam, are you still playing football?’ My answer is ‘Hell no.' But I’m busier than I’ve ever been because I could take what football taught me and implement it in every single one of my businesses. The structure, the discipline, the sacrifice, the mental stamina that’s needed. And that’s the conversation. The grind. The joy is in the journey.”

Auburn football legend Cam Newton keeping himself open to major comeback

Newton is one of the rare athletes for whom time off is the best thing possible. His 2018 season was the beginning of the end for him because of a nagging shoulder injury that cost him most of the 2019 season. He wasn't fully recovered when he tried leading the post-Tom Brady New England Patriots in 2020 and ran into a poor franchise fit with Bill Belichick and Co.

The 2021 version of himself still didn't look healthy throwing the football, but he still came back to the Carolina Panthers and provided the franchise the kind of effort, at least on the ground, that he can be hang his hat on.

If his career is done, Newton tied up the loose ends in Carolina. But given their ongoing Bryce Young issues, perhaps one more run as a mentor -- and perhaps even a change-of-pace QB -- could do the Queen City wonders.