Even though he was their starting quarterback for nine seasons, Cam Newton was let go by the Carolina Panthers in mid-March. What followed was an almost six-month journey that saw him remain on the open market until late June, sign a minimum-value free agency pact with the New England Patriots, and compete for the role previously held by the most successful player in pro football history, Tom Brady.
The latest chapter of Newton’s 10th year in the league was written just this Thursday. Not only was he named the Patriots’ new starting quarterback following a training camp competition against second-year man Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer, he also was voted a captain by his teammates.
Newton took to social media shortly after the announcement that he has been made a captain, sharing his thoughts on receiving the honor.
“Dear New England, I will not and do not take this opportunity for granted,” the 31-year-old wrote on his Instagram account as the caption of a picture that shows him among the Patriots’ eight-man group of captains. “I’m so grateful for this organization, my teammates, and this city; thank you! No need to look back now... LFG!”
While the former league MVP is naturally a first-time team captain with the Patriots, he does have some experience filling this role going back to his tenure with the Panthers. Newton was named a captain seven years in a row while in Carolina: between 2013 and 2019 he represented the organization’s locker room each season — a responsibility he will now continue to carry despite only having arrived in New England two months ago.
“I recognize — and everyone knows around the league — when you’re a team captain that’s not just a patch on the jersey,” said Newton after first being named a Panthers captain ahead of his third season in the NFL (via the Charlotte Observer). “You’re holding yourself to a higher standard with being accountable. I’m going about it each and every day and trying to make that happen.”
It remains to be seen how Newton’s tenure as a captain will look like, but him getting named certainly speaks for how quickly he adapted to the Patriots’ locker room culture and the respect he already enjoys among his teammates. Newton shares this distinction with running back James White, center David Andrews, defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, cornerback Jason McCourty and safety Devin McCourty.
Newton’s Instagram post as a whole looks as follows: