Ex-Patriots Great: ‘Cam [Newton] Just Can’t Play in the NFL’

Getty Cam Newton

There is no shortage of rumors and speculation surrounding the New England Patriots‘ quarterback situation. There is even talk that Cam Newton could return as the team’s starter in 2021.

Count former Patriots safety and current NFL analyst Rodney Harrison as someone who strongly opposes this idea. This past week, Harrison made it clear when speaking to NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran, he thinks bringing Newton back to New England would be “the worst decision” Bill Belichick has ever made. Here is a quote from Harrison’s candid take on Newton’s potential return to Foxborough:

That would be the worst decision [Belichick] has ever made. Because now you’re not being fair to your team. When I saw what I saw with Cam, every time I saw Cam pretty much I was hurt. Because I was a guy that believed in Cam, and when you see him drop back and he continues to throw the ball into the ground, throw it five feet or five yards above somebody else, you’re like ‘What are you doing, Cam?’ You have to find a quarterback. It would be a terrible mistake for Bill Belichick to bring Cam back because Cam can’t play football anymore. He just can’t play quarterback in the National Football League.

Wow, you can’t get any more blunt and harsh, but as much as some people may listen to and put stock into what Harrison thinks, you have to wonder where Newton’s teammates and coaching staff are on the subject.

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Newton Seems to Be Respected By His Teammates

Throughout the 2020 season, even through the ups and downs, and even after the Patriots were eliminated from the Super Bowl, you didn’t hear any of Newton’s teammates bash him. In fact, just last week, team captain and star safety Devin McCourty said he “wouldn’t mind having” Newton return as the team’s starting quarterback.

Harrison is entitled to his opinion, and most fans appreciate the time he spent with the Patriots organization. However, it would seem, the opinions of current Patriots might hold a little more weight than someone who is essentially an outsider at this point.

The Coaching Staff Seemed Fond of Newton, But…

Call it the Patriot Way, or label it as another example of Bill Belichick being coy with the media. No matter how you look at it, Belichick nor any member of his staff openly or even indirectly blasted Newton during the season, or since the 2020 campaign concluded.

They supported Newton through the year and stayed with him as their starter despite several members of the media and some fans clamoring for the team to start Jarrett Stidham. That has to say something about how they feel about the former NFL MVP.

That said, there have been a number of rumors and speculation about the team’s interest in Matthew Stafford and Carson Wentz. One could argue, the Patriots can’t be too satisfied with Newton if they’re looking for his replacement.

Newton is a free agent and he could simply choose to sign elsewhere, but as he spoke leading up to the final games of the 2020 season, it seemed clear he wanted to return to New England in 2021. Most expect a wild offseason, and it may start with a decision on Newton’s future in Foxborough.


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