Former Patriot Squashes Embarrassing Cam Newton-Mac Jones Rumor

Getty Mac Jones watches former teammate Cam Newton

There was a rather embarrassing rumor circulated about Cam Newton and Mac Jones just ahead of the 2021 season by former New England Patriot Rob Ninkovich. Another former Patriot, offensive lineman RJ Prince–who was in camp–says it isn’t true.

On his Dan and Ninko podcast, the former linebacker who helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls cited “some inside sources” who claimed the then-rookie quarterback Jones, was teaching the playbook to Newton, a veteran, multiple-time Pro-Bowler, and former NFL MVP. It seemed a bit far-fetched at the time–if not downright mean.

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However, only someone who was present at camp ahead of this past season could say yay or nay. Prince would fit the qualifications. The Patriots signed Prince in June of 2021. He was with the club during training camp but was released just before the start of the season in August.

RJ Prince Breaks Down the Newton-Jones Training Camp Duel

FanSided’s Ethan Hurwitz spoke with Prince, who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens about a few subjects. Hurwitz brought up Newton and Jones’ preseason battle for the starting QB job, which was ultimately won by the latter and led to the former’s release.

Prince was asked for his perspective of the QB battle.

“All I can say is, both of them had their ups and downs in camp,” Prince said. “Both of them have/had their own weaknesses and strengths, but both can run the offense and the system and bring productive results. The only guy that had a complete understanding of the offense and every intricacy within it was Brian Hoyer.”

In watching the two quarterbacks perform during the preseason and consuming training camp reports from local media, Prince’s assessment seems to be on point.

Newton was 14-for-21 for 162 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT in the preseason. Jones had more opportunities to throw and registered 36 completions on 52 passes for 389 yards and one TD. Newton, the NFL’s all-time leader in rushing TDs for QBs, didn’t have a single rushing attempt in the preseason, which has to be mentioned if we’re fairly evaluating both men’s exhibition performance.

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“The thing about Mac is, he has a crazy level of being able to retain information, and as he kept learning, his poise, moxie, and confidence just grew and grew; it was fun to see,” Prince added. “Cam’s command and swagger was just unbelievable; great to block for him. All the stuff that happened with Cam departing, all I can say is, the NFL is totally unpredictable and it can be a cruel and unforgiving business. But in the end, business is business.”

Does Prince believe Newton deserved to be released? It is impossible to say that definitively based on what was printed, but calling the decision an example of how the NFL can be a “cruel and unforgiving business” might suggest the former MVP might have deserved a better fate in New England.

RJ Prince Shoots Down Newton-Jones Playbook Rumor

Prince’s parting shot to the question is what shot down the rumor Ninkovich mentioned on his podcast.

“That rumor that Mac was teaching Cam the playbook and all that, just don’t believe everything you read or hear,” Prince mentioned. “I’m shooting that down.”

For a rookie quarterback–even one as sharp as Jones–to be teaching a veteran like Newton an NFL playbook would be quite the compliment for the first-year signal-caller and an indictment on the football IQ of the seasoned pro.

It doesn’t appear as though this rumor was true, especially if we believe Prince’s firsthand account. At the end of the day, Jones is the starter in New England–quite possibly for many years to come–and Newton is hoping to latch on with the right team ahead of the 2022 season.

Unless he returns to the Carolina Panthers where he finished the 2022 campaign, Newton will probably have to learn another playbook.

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