I thought this was a pretty cool article about Newman:
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MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Terence Newman has nerve damage in his left shoulder. Terence Newman is dropping like a rock on some draft boards. Terence Newman, the defensive jewel of the draft, is suddenly flawed.
So they say.
Terence Newman says there are no problems with his shoulder or his game.(Provided to SportsLine)
Newman, the Kansas State cornerback, has read the stories, particularly one this week on SportsLine.com, and he was ready when this reporter met him Monday at the Kansas State football complex. He practically grabbed me by the collar and hauled him down to the weight room.
Newman purposefully went to the nearest bench press, slammed on a few weights and quickly got a coach to spot him. Six bench presses of 206 pounds later, Newman exhales slightly and blurts out, "Do either of them look weak? What about now? Does one of my shoulders look weak? Look like any problems?"
"The teams know what's going on," he added. "It's just these writers. In a couple of days I want to see something (on the website) that says, 'I've seen him.'"
Consider it done.
However questions persist; several NFL teams tell SportsLine.com that nerve damage in Newman's left shoulder has not shown significant improvement in recent months.
Might there be something there with the shoulder? No, Newman said, he doesn't need and isn't getting surgery.
"It's something actually a lot of players have had," Newman said. "It goes away with time."
The shoulder thing briefly threw a set of steak knives into a wonderful whirlwind the past month.
It's obvious Newman has dodged, shucked, jived and come out the better.
Chicago, Detroit, Houston, St. Louis and Cincinnati have had him in for interviews and workouts. Despite the murmurs, his star continues to rise. Dallas was going to have him but canceled because it thought Newman would be gone by the time it picks fifth.
Teams, of course, don't want to expose Newman to local media when he is town. One enterprising Chicago reporter bought a refundable ticket just so she could get into the boarding area to interview Newman.
"I was like, 'Man, you're bold,'" Newman said. "'You want an interview? Here's your interview.'"
Newman is all about bold. He doesn't think twice about saying, yeah, he would love to play for Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. He felt more closely bonded there than in any other city.
"A perfect example would be Kansas State in the early 80s," Newman said. "Who wouldn't make fun of Kansas State because of how they performed on the field? Cincinnati is the same way. They were the worst team in the league. People were sticking pins in them. This year, I think they're going to be a team to be reckoned with.
"I would love to play for (Lewis)."
Take that bit of evaluation for what it's worth. The mistake for any team that passes on the best Kansas State cornerback in history could be missing out on an NFL-ready cover corner with mad skills.
As Newman himself says, he is a cornerback and so much more -- punt returner, kick returner, punt coverage, even receiver. Newman caught his only pass last year for a 51-yard touchdown.
"I think teams are looking for a more versatile player," he said. "Why draft a guy who can do one thing? Why not draft a guy who can do two or three things? It's all in my resume."
It certainly is. So much so that Newman could be the first player taken in the draft, which says as much about the player as it does about the current state of the NFL. That a cover corner can be coveted enough and talented enough to turn around a franchise.
Charles Woodson, who has come as close to that top spot as any corner in recent years, already has called and left a message. One day soon when the pre-draft hype slows, Newman will return the call. But not now, not yet. Like the rest of us, Woodson probably was wanting to know what is up with this guy?
"The question is, where's the weakness? Is there any downside?" Kansas State defensive coordinator Bobby Elliott said, repeating questions from NFL teams. "They ask about character, they asked about how he worked, they asked how he takes coaching. All those things are positive."
Teams keep digging and Newman keeps answering their questions.
Measurables? There was a 41.5-inch vertical leap at the NFL combine backed up by a 4.3-second 40 on a presumably slow Hoosier Dome track. Don't forget that Newman bench pressed 225 pounds 11 times, which makes his display earlier this week even more amazing; Newman pounded the weights for the reporter after a two-hour upper-body workout, he said.
Competitiveness? In college, during the past two seasons, his side of the field was typically closed off to the opposing quarterback. In one last, lasting-impression confrontation, he held Big 12 career leading receiver Justin Gage to two catches for 56 yards in his final regular-season game.
Even those numbers are misleading. Gage, an NFL prospect himself, caught his first pass for no yards. The only other catch came on a flea flicker. Newman is still beating himself up for getting beat. What you don't know is that after the 56-yard catch, Newman ran down Gage from behind.
Oh yes, one other thing ... Missouri was shut out that day.
"Still, a dumb play on my part," he says now, two weeks removed from the biggest day of his life.
Big, yes, but Newman's life was changed 14 years ago when he was kicked off his little league football team for fighting. Newman was grounded, told to clean the house and couldn't go outside for a month. His support system, mother, Wanda, and grandfather, Ernest, at least consider it a life-changing event.
Newman is on the straight-and-narrow since then. A track and football star at Salina (Kan.) Central High School, he first committed to Kansas. The story goes that coach Bill Snyder had to be talked into recruiting him. Having the archrival down I-70 land him first helped change Snyder's mind.
All's fair in recruiting, including calling a kid who hasn't actually signed a letter of intent yet.
"We were slow in the process," Snyder said. "All we could ask Terence to do is come and look."
At that point, Newman didn't know that, under Snyder, Kansas State turned out defensive backs like Aunt Jemima turned out pancakes. It started 10 years ago with Thomas Randolph, who left in 1993 and played six years in the NFL.
Last year it peaked with Newman who, even if he never played a down in the NFL, might be considered the school's best defensive back.
"I don't know that he is absolutely the best," said Snyder, who throws around compliments like they are fresh cow pies in the nearby pastures. "I think the perception is that he is, and perception becomes reality over time."
At first, he was like a newborn colt -- all arms and legs. Snyder already knew he had perhaps the fastest player in school history (4.26 in the 40). The kid needed to learn technique.
"My freshman year I started in the spring game because of an injury," Newman said. "That's when the light came on that I can play this game pretty well but I wasn't getting any time. I was in the restroom one time and said to myself, 'Something I'm not doing is keeping me off the field.'"
To play K-State's renowned press defense takes technique, technique that Newman didn't have. Good thing, because there is arguably no other school that teaches it better.
"Footwork and overall knowledge of the game," Newman said of his early weaknesses.
Until he learned, Newman kept the "track guy" label. As a junior he won state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. In 2001, he set a K-State record with a 10.22 time in the 100. He went on win the Big 12 100 outdoor titles in 2001 and 2002.
"I could probably be one of the top guys competing in the U.S.," Newman said, speculating on his talents if he concentrated them full time on track. "I was competing with the guys that train all year-round already. If I dedicated all my time to track, the sky is the limit."
The "press" defense is a main reason Snyder turned around the program when he arrived in 1989. Now every program uses at least a version of it, but K-State did it best because it had good defensive backs. Eight or nine defenders crowd the box and are surrounded by a couple of corners who are right up in the face of receivers, and a safety.
Over the years, K-State won the on-field bet that is the press defense -- I can reach your quarterback before you can complete a pass.
"The way they played the game, everybody talked about K-State's defense," Newman said.
The other amazing thing is that defense has excelled despite a high turnover rate among the assistants. Newman went through four defensive coordinators -- Mike Stoops and Brent Venables (now at Oklahoma), Phil Bennett (now the head coach at SMU) and Elliott.
At the beginning of the 2002 NFL season there were at least five former Kansas State defensive backs on rosters. That doesn't include Chris Canty, the New England Patriots' first-round choice in 1997 who would have won the 1996 Thorpe Award if not for some off-field indiscretions. After that, K-State removed Canty from consideration.
There are absolutely no such issues with Newman. You begin to understand his maturity when you realize he will turn 25 the first week of the season.
"There's no question the way we play is an advantage to a kid playing in the secondary," said Elliott, who counts Merton Hanks as one of his best pro products while at Iowa. "The pro guys want to see whether you can do all the things. When all you do is play zone, the NFL guys have to guess about (whether you can play man)."
The cherry on the ultimate dessert was Indianapolis. It should be pointed out that Newman didn't have to go to the combine but did anyway. While other top choices were protecting their draft position, Newman enhanced his.
It's a show Newman will put on for almost anyone -- coaches, scouts, a skeptical press.
"It's something where I just wanted to prove people wrong," he said