When you’ve been officially eliminated from postseason contention, players and coaches go through a period of reflection. That’s where Cam Newton was on Monday.
The 31-year-old New England Patriots quarterback has endured quite a bit this season. From accepting a modest contract months after being released from the only NFL franchise he’s ever played for, to performing well early in the season only to be sidetracked by COVID-19, and never seemingly getting back the groove he lost from the virus.
With the Patriots officially eliminated from playoff contention, Newton is fielding retrospective and forward-looking questions from the media.
On Monday morning during his weekly spot on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, Newton talked about the main culprit in what was a disjointed season for him and the Patriots.
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Cam Newton Regrets the Way COVID Impacted his Ability to Connect With Teammates
From the start of the season, the COVID-19 storyline and cloud have been over the Patriots organization about as heavy as any team in the NFL. New England had a league-high eight players opt-out at the start of the season, and Newton’s positive test after Week 3 led to a brief spread and major adjustments for the entire roster.
Because of those events, Newton’s take on WEEI on Monday makes all the sense in the world. He identified the impact of COVID-19 as his biggest regret for the season.
According to Newton, it impacted his ability to connect with teammates.
I think my only regret about COIVD is this: I’m a very social person. I’m a social peer. I’m a social teammate. I’m a social human being. It’s one thing to know a person on a football side, and I always use the analogy of COVID affected our team in a way to make a lot of us feel like associates or co-workers rather than really feeling like a team at times. And hear me out when I say ‘at times.’ Because for me, it this was not the case, obviously you can have guys over, you can really find out the personal side. ‘Hey, an, you got a girl? Are you married? How many kids do you have? what’s your player language? Are you one of the guys who gets riled up in tense situations? You don’t necessarily know that or find that out until going through certain situations. And we didn’t have a preseason. We didn’t have opportunities to kind of break bread and say, ‘Hey bro, every Thursday, a different player on the team is going to host Thursday Night Football. ‘Hey bro, let’s have a dinner date with the wives or girlfriends’ – things that I’m used to doing. Sometimes I think this year, it affected me a lot because I didn’t necessarily know my teammates. It’s not an excuse. It’s just the reality of being in a situation where a lot of people were affected in a different way. If I had one thing that I could go back and change, I would have changed that.
I second that, Cam.
Who’s Starting on Monday Night?
No one seems to know, or at least no one is sharing the Patriots’ starting quarterback decision for the Monday night tilt against the Buffalo Bills. There is a logical reason to turn to Jarrett Stidham as the team still needs to get an extended look at last year’s fourth-round pick and one time planned successor to Tom Brady.
However, there is also a train of thought that supports Newton remaining the starter so that he can gain more confidence in the offense, and so the Patriots can make a final determination on whether or not he can be their guy again in 2021.
Hopefully next year, there won’t be a virus to navigate and that won’t be such a crushing storyline in the NFL or the world.
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