ATHENS — Jamie Newman traveled a long road to get to the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Ala., graduating from Wake Forest and then spending eight months on the Georgia football team from January through August.
Newman will be wearing a Demon Deacons’ helmet as he looks to take the next step with an impressive week in front of NFL general managers and head coaches this week, Senior Bowl officials confirmed.
“We had to put him in Wake Forest stuff,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said. “If we put him in Georgia stuff …. the vitriol among DawgNation on Twitter has been unbelievable.”
There will still be a program-record six players wearing Georgia helmets at the Senior Bowl:
• MLB Monty Rice
• TE Tre’ McKitty
• DB Mark Webb
• DL Malik Herring
• OG Ben Cleveland
• CB D.J. Daniel
Richard LeCounte had accepted an invite, but he was a surprise scratch, indicating his recovery from his Halloween dirt bike accident may not be complete.
Newman, meanwhile, had opted out before the season like many other players citing the Covid circumstances.
Newman left UGA in good standing with the team and the staff.
Coach Kirby Smart issued a statement back on Sept. 2 that Newman will always be welcome in Athens and considered a Bulldog.
“While we will miss him being part of our program, I fully support Jamie’s decision and we will continue to regard him as a Georgia Bulldog. Certainly, we wish him nothing but the best in his quest for an NFL career and he knows he will always have a home at UGA.”
UGA fans were obviously disappointed Newman opted out before the start of the season, citing the Covid circumstances.
But some of those close to Newman, including former Georgia teammates, were sensitive to the fact that Newman had to consider what was best for his future, and UGA had not named him the starter.
Regardless, it was a difficult fall for Newman away from football and the friends he made on the Georgia football team, according to Anthony Timmons, the player’s high school coach and mentor.
“It was tremendously tough on him,” said Timmons, who coached Newman in his hometown of Graham, N.C. “Jamie is a competitor and he got close to a lot of those guys at Georgia, but they understood the business aspect.
“I think the whole Covid situation, and it was a family decision, between him and his grandma and dad.”
Timmons said he understands how some who don’t know Newman might misunderstand the talented 6-foot-4, 230-pounder.
“Sometimes we don’t agree with things people do, but I’m a firm believe everything happens for a reason,” Timmons said. “We’re looking forward to this week, and this will be a huge opportunity for Jamie at the Senior Bowl.
“This will be a positive outcome and that will make up fo the ground he lost during what would have been senior season,
Timmons is confident the more NFL teams know about Newman, the more they will like him.
“This is a good opportunity for (NFL teams) to check him out and meet him,” he said. “Once they see his personality and knowledge fo the game, this will be huge.”