By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Nate served his final six months in Louisiana--sleeping on a concrete slab in a cell with 40 prisoners and one toilet.
"They don't play around at that joint," he said. "I don't even like to think about that place."
Thanks more to his intimidating size than his jovial disposition, Nate survived. He was released November 9, 2004, free to join life two and a half years behind and a club whose members include Mike Tyson, Martha Stewart and Jamal Lewis.
"Prison doesn't help you, unless you help yourself," Nate said. "A week after I got out I got straight with myself and God. I apologized to my family, and I promised myself I'd never go back to prison."
A year into freedom, Nate seems content with his cautious comeback.
Remarried and living in Wylie, the 43-year-old Newton spends his days working as a regional coordinator for O-D Sports football camp. (Oh yeah, he also drives--swear--a Volkswagen Golf. Profile this!) Friday nights he watches his oldest son, Nathaniel III, play football for top-ranked Southlake Carroll High School, and Sundays are still reserved for the Cowboys.
He's spoken to Tulane University's football team, displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and to Cowboys rookies at Valley Ranch. But as of now there are no book deals, no Hollywood scripts, no TV jobs, no coaching doors swinging open.
You expect a fairy-tale ending?
Not from Nate Newton.
"Good things are going to happen for me. But right now it's just time to sit back and laugh at folks," he said. "Mostly, at myself."