Cam Newton sweated through a workout with his new Carolina teammates Wednesday morning, hopped a flight to Washington to meet the president in the afternoon, then quickly returned to make sure he attended the final player-organized workout Thursday.
As the Heisman Trophy winner prepares for the scrutiny of being the NFL's No. 1 overall pick, his work ethic, fitness and willingness to fit in are impressing his veteran teammates.
''He showed up every day early. He's working hard,'' Panthers linebacker Jon Beason said Thursday. ''He's interacted well and he's shown some great leadership.''
Newton is making the best of an offseason like no other because of the lockout.
He can't talk to Carolina's new coaching staff. He's forced to learn the playbook on his own. He doesn't have a contract. It's uncertain if top receiver Steve Smith will be his teammate. There is no indication how long of a preseason there will be.
And yet Newton is considered the key to whether the NFL-worst Panthers can contend.
Newton, who led Auburn to the 2010 national title with a dazzling 50-touchdown season, is upbeat and confident even as he acknowledges the NFL is not college football.
''Preparing as a quarterback in the NFL is completely different,'' he said. ''The terminology, the blitz schemes, and at the end of the day, you're not playing freshmen anymore. You're playing grown men. This where speed comes into play at all times.''
Newton was able to get a playbook and meet with Carolina's coaches the day after the first round of the draft, when the lockout was temporarily lifted. He said offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski gave him some ''focus points.'' He's also met with last year's starter, Jimmy Clausen, to compare notes.
Clausen and free-agent QB Matt Moore also attended the workouts the past two weeks at a Charlotte high school.