Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is one of the most recognizable sports stars in the world these days, but at one point his life was very much in flux.

Reflecting on this as Thanksgiving approaches, Newton took the opportunity Tuesday to share an old police picture of himself after he was arrested for stealing a laptop in 2008.

“I contemplated posting this and even reluctant about it but as I think about my life and the MANY things I’m THANKFUL for, I want to be an OPEN book so people can hear my testimony and learn from the FLAWS and mistakes I MADE! On this day 11/21/2008 I was arrested for a stolen laptop and I’m sure you’re asking yourself where is he going with the story but the moral of this story is this….on this date I THOUGHT my life and my carer was OVER sand the fact that I had shamed my family with the media coverage surrounding this situation. What you must learn from this story is this: If you live your life listening to what OTHER people are saying what you should do AND NOT YOUR OWN; shame on YOU! I can honestly say to you today that NO one gave me a chance to succeed down bad in my situation and if I would have listened to those people that said I CAN’T WHO KNOWS where I would be today. So I’m EXTREMELY THANKFUL FOR GOD’S mercy, grace and FAVOR over my LIFE. So if I can do it with my circumstances surely you can do it and BE WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BE with HARD WORK and PERSISTENCE!”