Cam Newton rewards 4 million Instagram followers after long hiatus

Panthers QB Cam Newton has returned to posting on social media, posting on Thursday several Instagram photos of himself working out. Chuck Burton/AP

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has had a quiet offseason outside the birth of his third child with girlfriend Kia Proctor, which Proctor revealed on social media earlier this month.

Quiet, at least, in that the quarterback hasn't documented what he's been up to on Instagram as he has in past years, when he shared everything from his birthday rap video to his Caribbean vacation to his 2016 adventures on his Nickelodeon show.

The 2015 NFL MVP, without any explanation in January, deleted all of his Instagram posts and unfollowed many of those who kept up with his day-to-day adventures on social media.

But Newton apparently is back, and his four million followers will have something to view now.

In late June he posted a video explaining why he's been away from Instagram and on Thursday he posted pictures for the first time since last year.

Let's start with the video (which disappeared from Instagram after 24 hours), in which Newton explained why he deleted everything from his account.

"It's too early to go back to sleep," Newton said as he walked in almost complete darkness. "I want to speak my peace on something. The reason I came back on Instagram. So check this, the main reason why I really came back was I realized my impact on kids. Like, any and everything that I do, that's what I'm trying to do it for. I'm trying to impact these young boys in any way. I'm from Atlanta, Georgia where opportunities are extremely slim for minority people. But there are opportunities for you to do it. And with the position that I'm in, I just want to inspire to do something. You ain't got to sell dope. Your ass ain't got to rob or do none of that illegal s--- to get the 'bag' as these young boys say. If you commit to something and do it, the world is yours. You feel me?

"So I really just wanted to speak my peace on a couple things before I lay it down... There are a lot of dudes out there that are cornballs. I understand and realize that. That's cool, too. But coming from my vantage point, I just know I owe it to a lot of people to keep it 100, stay true to who I am, a person that will never fold but give 100 percent. Pure facts."

The first picture appeared Thursday morning showing Newton and his six-pack abs:

The picture, although it is unclear when it was taken, suggests Newton may be in even better shape now than when he reported to last year's training camp at 245 pounds, which was at least 15 pounds below his 2016 playing weight.

That picture was followed by a couple more, including Newton working out with tight end Greg Olsen, his favorite target since arriving in the NFL in 2011. Newton typically works out with his receivers on his own in the weeks leading to training camp. It is unclear where this year's workout is taking place, though in the past, Newton's offseason workouts have been at the Under Armor facility in Baltimore.

Newton still hasn't posted pictures of his newest son. There was no name reveal. Newton now has three children with Proctor. The first, Chosen Sebastian Newton, was born on Christmas Eve in 2015. Soreveign-Dior Cambella Newton was born last February.

Newton also is the stepfather of Shakira, which he revealed last February with a birthday Instagram message that started with "the real girl who changed my life ever since we first met five years ago."