NFL star Cam Newton a new AFL fan

Superstar quarterback Cam Newton says he is full of respect for AFL players given the physicality of the sport and the lack of protective gear worn.

The Carolina Panthers NFL player, who recently signed a $US118-million contract, has been at Richmond’s AFL headquarters as part of a Gatorade athlete exchange program.

He has attended two AFL games, including Richmond’s match against GWS at the MCG.

The 26-year-old, who hadn’t seen AFL before, says he’s surprised by the lack of protective gear worn by the players.

“It’s extremely physical,” Newton said.

“In our sport they’re constantly putting things on you to protect you and in this sport they’re taking things away.

“All they’re wearing is a tank top and a pair of boxers.”

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