The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

January 22, 2013

Newton — not RG3 — to speak at BAC banquet

Griffin’s early rehab from recent knee surgery will keep him from appearing

Doctors have sidelined Robert Griffin III, canceling his trip to Beckley to serve as the guest speaker at the annual tip-off banquet for the Big Atlantic Classic. But tournament director Jim Justice has found a backup the Redskins wish they could have had when their star rookie quarterback went down with a knee injury in the NFL playoffs.

Coming in Griffin’s place — and joining a list of past speakers like Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Terry Bradshaw, Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Tebow, who have come to Beckley to talk with fans at the Big Atlantic Classic — will be Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“We fell off a cliff there, but our farm manager in South Carolina came up with Cam, and we were able to get him,” Justice said Monday night. “He’s just a superstar beyond belief, so that’s really special.”

The announcement of RG3 as the speaker earlier this month created plenty of buzz throughout the state, and after talking to his close friend Dr. James Andrews, who performed Griffin’s recent knee surgery, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and, of course, Griffin himself, Justice was confident that the surgery would not keep one of the NFL’s most unique figures from making the trip to the Mountain State.

But two weeks into the rehab, Andrews decided it was a risk he didn’t want his patient to take.

“He’s doing good,” said Justice. “It’s not like he’s had a major setback. But he had both knees operated on, he’s on crutches, he’s two weeks into the rehab, and with so much to gain, and so much potentially to lose, they’re just afraid to put him on a plane because of blood clots and all of that.”

So with Griffin out of the picture, Justice and Andrews quickly started tossing around possible names as a replacement.

“Jimmy Andrews is my great buddy, and a great doctor,” said Justice. “He’s a superstar of superstars, and he just wouldn’t let me down.”

Another former Redskin quarterback, Joe Theismann, volunteered to fill the spot, but he had spoken at the Big Atlantic Classic before, and Justice wanted to find somebody who would be new to the crowd. He was also hopeful he could come up with an athlete who, like RG3, would appeal to a young crowd. So when Newton’s name came to the surface, the group made an all-out push to land him.

With help from Andrews and Auburn associate athletic director Tim Jackson, the Big Atlantic Classic was able to get a commitment from Newton, whom Justice said was back at Auburn, where he won a Heisman Trophy and a national title, working to finish his degree.

The similarities between Griffin and Newton are staggering.

Both won the Heisman Trophy — Newton in 2010 and Griffin in 2011 — both are young star quarterbacks in the NFL and both play on a team that has plenty of followers throughout West Virginia — Griffin in Washington, D.C., and Newton in Charlotte, N.C.

“RG3 obviously would have been great,” said Justice. “And we tried with everything we had. But it just didn’t work out.

“Cam is also a great superstar, and going back to get his degree after his second year in the NFL is admirable.”

Newton, who led Auburn to the 2011 BCS Championship, before becoming the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, was named the NFL Rookie of the Year by both Pepsi and The Sporting News in 2011 and made a trip to the Pro Bowl after setting a record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 14.

In two NFL seasons, the Atlanta native has thrown for 7,920 yards and 40 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 1,447 yards and 22 more scores.

Newton’s appearance will be Sunday at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center. Dinner will begin at 12:30 p.m., with the program involving Newton beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets for the dinner and the speaker are $40, and balcony seating for those who just want to hear the speaker will be sold for $7.50 for adults and $2.50 for students. The doors will open at 1 p.m. for those ticket holders.

Tickets can be purchased at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, online at www.beckleyconventioncenter.com or by calling 1-888-695-0888.

Justice said he hopes most who have already purchased tickets will want to come out and see Newton, but there is a refund plan in place for those who don’t.

“This was beyond our control, but anybody that wants a ticket refund for whatever reason, we absolutely want them to come to the (Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center) and we’ll refund all their money,” said Justice. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herlad.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

1
Text Only
Other Sports
  • graham Less fanfare, but plenty of noise on day 3

    There wasn’t quite the fanfare Sunday morning at the New Orleans Saints new $30 million practice facility at The Greenbrier as there was the day before, when more than 5,000 fans turned out to have a picnic with the NFL stars.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • coaches Picking up some pointers

    West Virginia University football coaches took in New Orleans Saints practice Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conn job: RHP impressive in Miners’ win over Paints

    Trevor Conn had not started a game for the West Virginia Miners before Sunday.

    July 28, 2014

  • ingram Saints show their appreciation

    New Orleans Saints players and coaches went about a businesslike practice session Saturday afternoon in White Sulphur Springs.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some books for the rest of summer

    Stretching out in a hammock with a good book is a great way to relax on a warm summer afternoon. Here are a few titles that have recently caught my eye.

    July 27, 2014

  • graham Fans enjoy their chance to interact with team

    Lois and Jeff Price have something else to brag about. The native southern West Virginians, now residents of Frederick, Md., were enjoying life on Saturday at The Greenbrier resort, new home of the New Orleans Saints training camp, during fan appreciation day.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creating a week to remember

    After my traveling shoes were placed neatly beside the door, it was time to spend some much needed time around home.

    July 27, 2014

  • Weather willing, Miners host Paints today

    With the West Virginia Miners fighting for their playoff lives, fans have only two more chances to see their team in the regular season.

    July 27, 2014

  • There are some changes on the way

    Hunters who have found themselves driving out of their way to check in a deer, turkey, or bear will no longer have to waste the time or gas starting in 2015. 

    July 27, 2014

  • Mayor gives his thoughts on current state of Beckley sports

    Whether it was courtside at King Coal Beckley Auto Mall Arena — then known as the Armory — or high in the press box overlooking Van Meter Stadium, Bill O’Brien has seen his share of Beckley sports.

    July 27, 2014

Saints Training Camp

AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide