Newton, Nate “The Kitchen”

Cards: Action Packed 1992, GameDay 1992, Fleer 1990
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1990, 1992, 1997

Nate Newton. In the age of gigantic offensive linemen, Nate Newton certainly set the tempo. It seemed like every training camp that you’d hear about Nate showing up 15-30 pounds overweight- and the media would eagerly report it. A man whose personality was almost as big as his girth, you could count on Newton to have a great media soundbyte or something to say back to fans as he signed cards. His nickname “The Kitchen” was also a humorous poke at his weight and the fact that he was as big as a kitchen.

Originally from Florida A&M, Newton would sign in 1984 with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL. After not being drafted in the USFL dispersal draft in 1985, Nate would be signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys where after a few years became a refined and imposing tackle protecting Troy Aikman and clearing holes for Emmitt Smith. Playing  for the Cowboys Newton would go to the ProBowl 6 times, was named AP twice, and won 3 SuperBowl rings during his career through 1998. He’d finish out his tenure in the NFL playing one final season in 1999 for the Carolina Panthers.

Since retirement, “The Kitchen” has experienced a rocky road. After spending some time in prison for having 175 pounds of marijuana in his car, Newton has played it on straight and narrow. He isn’t apologetic for what he did, but he has claimed to have reformed going as far as becoming a regular church man. He has also spent some time working as an offensive coordinator for a football clinic near Dallas. Newton’s weight earlier this year dangerously spiraled out of control and was over 400 pounds, but he has since lost over 175 pounds.

Newton’s cards are interesting. At the first training camp in 1990, Newton signed the front of the card. After that, he made a habit of signing the back. Whether this was some unconscious acknowledgement of his weight or a way of scratching it out remains to be seen but because of his behavior and despite his stellar football career, Newton will probably never see the NFL Hall of Fame.