Cam Newton joins this list of high-profile athletes to return to original teams


Elvis Presley once said the home is where the heart is.

That song probably rings true for Cam Newton, who signed a one-year deal to return to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday. 

The former All-Pro QB spent the first nine seasons of his career in Carolina after being drafted No.1 overall in 2011. He made the Pro Bowl three times and won MVP honors in 2015, leading the Panthers to an appearance in Super Bowl 50.

However, after a foot injury limited him to just two games in 2019, the Panthers released their franchise QB at age 30 and Newton spent 2020 as the New England Patriots QB.

His career hasn't been the same since he left Carolina, posting career lows in passing yards and touchdowns while with the Patriots last year. 

Newton's reunion with the Panthers marks the latest time a former superstar returned to the team which launched their careers. Could the homecoming spell a resurgence for Newton and a spark for a Carolina team that still has legitimate playoff hopes? 

Here's a look at how some other star athletes have fared in their trips back to their original teams:

LeBron James

After announcing his departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers in front of a nationally televised audience, LeBron James redeemed himself when he returned to Cleveland in 2014. James promised to end the city's 52-year championship drought after winning the two titles with the Miami Heat.


While James and the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season back, the superstar lived up to his promise the following year, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the Warriors to hoist the city's first Larry O'Brien trophy in 2016.

Charles Woodson

The Oakland Raiders drafted Charles Woodson with the fourth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Woodson made an immediate impact on the team, making the Pro Bowl each of his first four seasons.

He helped the Raiders reach Super Bowl XXXVI in 2003 before leaving for the Green Bay Packers after the 2005 season. Woodson spent six seasons with the Packers, winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011 and making four more Pro Bowls. 

The future Hall of Famer returned to Oakland in 2013, spending his last three seasons with the Raiders before retiring after the 2015 season in an emotional send-off by the silver and black fans.

DeSean Jackson

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Desean Jackson in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Jackson went on to play the six seasons with the Eagles before leaving Philadelphia to sign a three-year deal with the Washington Football Team in 2014. 

Jackson spent three years in Washington from 2014-16 and then joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 and 2018 before coming back to Philly in 2019. 

Unfortunately, Jackson wasn't able to stay on the field long enough to make an impact. In his second stint with the Eagles, Jackson only played eight games in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

He moved on from Philly again after the 2020 season and signed with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. The Rams released Jackson shortly after the 2021 trade deadline and the 34-year old vet recently signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis burst onto the NFL scene as an elite shutdown corner for the New York Jets in 2007. Revis starred in the Jets' secondary for six seasons, helping them reach the AFC Championship Game in 2010 and 2011 as a four-time Pro Bowler.

Following multiple contract disputes and an ACL injury that held him out most of the 2012 season, the Jets traded Revis to the Buccaneers for two draft picks.

Tampa Bay released Revis after the 2013 season, and the corner went on to sign a one-year deal with the Patriots. Revis helped the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX in 2014, but when the team didn't pick up his option at the end of the year, he returned to the Jets in 2015 on a five-year, $70 million contract. 

Revis couldn't find the same success in his second stint in New York and finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.

Jason Taylor

Jason Taylor was one of the NFL's fiercest pass rushers for years on the Miami Dolphins. Drafted in 1997, he spent 10 seasons in Miami and earned two AFC Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2002 and 2006.


The Dolphins traded Taylor to Washington in 2008, but only one season later, Taylor returned to Miami. 

He left Miami in 2010 to make one last run at a Super Bowl with the New York Jets in 2010, but after they fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, Taylor returned to the Dolphins again for his last season in 2011.

Ken Griffey Jr. 

Ken Griffey Jr. took Major League Baseball by storm when he debuted as a 19-year-old for the Seattle Mariners in 1989. The Hall of Fame outfielder went on to become one of the best players in Mariners franchise history and of the best home run hitters in the game. After spending 10 seasons in Seattle, Griffey Jr. wanted to play in his hometown of Cincinnati. So the Mariners traded him to the Reds in 2000. 

Griffey Jr. hit 40 home runs during his first season in Cincinnati but as he got older his body and skills began to deteriorate. The Reds would later trade him to the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline in 2008 and the veteran would return to Seattle as a free agent in 2009. Griffey spent two years with Mariners before retiring in the middle of the 2010 season.