Cam Newton says he feeds off the haters

Cam Newton is hard at work, seeking to hold off rookie challenger Mac Jones. The veteran quarterback is working with his personal quarterbacks coach, George Whitfield Jr., at Georgia Tech.

Whitfield hosted a Q&A with his star pupil — a former Heisman Trophy winner and league MVP — on Instagram.

The first question Whitfield asked Newton was how he has dealt with “the haters.”

“Simple,” Newton told Whitfield, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “Feed your focus. Feed it. If the hate ain’t in my focus, I don’t feed it. I feed off of it, but I don’t feed it. It’s two different things. When I sense or when I dwell on hatred, that’s the product that’s going to come out — rage, anger. But that’s the hatred using me, not me using the hatred. So I want to process that and make that fuel me. I don’t dwell on what a person may say, what this person may say, she say, I just use it to my advantage and I feed what I want it to feed.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has named Newton the starter, but that means nothing in reality. Newton still will have to hold onto the job in training camp.

Newton explained to Whitfield how he goes about pursuing his goals, which surely are bigger than merely holding onto the starting job.

“You’ve got to visualize yourself already there. Get your mental thought of being in that moment and taking your place there,” Newton said. “And once you get there, find so much distress that you can gutter up and feel comfortable in it. Whenever that is. And that’s how you grind. You know what I’m saying? Just take your mind to that place, stay there, get uncomfortable, and be comfortable with being in that position.”

Newton, 32, went 7-8 in his first season as the Patriots’ starter, and the team missed the playoffs.