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NEW YORK — Cam Newton thanked his mother, then his father. And then he paused to compose himself.

Cecil Newton was back in Georgia, though his son put him squarely in the room where the Auburn quarterback accepted college football’s biggest award Saturday night — the Heisman Trophy.

“Thank you for all you did for me,” he told his parents, adding. “To my father, I love you so much.”

There was no doubt Newton would win the Heisman. Whether he gets to keep it is still uncertain.

Newton brushed off an investigation that determined his father violated NCAA rules as he did so many tacklers this season and captured the Heisman in a landslide vote.

That didn’t mean it all wasn’t tinged with sadness because his father was not there.

“I’d be sitting up here lying to you if I didn’t say it hurt,” Newton said during the ESPN telecast before the winner was announced. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I love my father. He gave me words of encouragement before I came up here. I know he’s with me in spirit.”

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