There was quite a bit of chatter surrounding Cam Newton’s future with the New England Patriots on Sunday. Newton’s four-touchdown performance in a 28-14 victory over the New York Jets was overshadowed by an earlier discussion, in which ESPN’s Adam Schefter stated that Newton and the Patriots will likely move in different directions this offseason.
Appearing on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show Monday morning, Newton was asked if he had discussed his future with head coach Bill Belichick.
“No we haven’t,” Newton said. “That’s what I’m saying. How could I report something that I haven’t even talked to ‘Dollar’ Bill about?”
Newton went on to add that it would be “remarkable” to come back to New England, where he feels the results would improve if given more time in the system. The Patriots offense is known for being quite complex, something Newton pointed to as the main reason he struggled to succeed Tom Brady.
“It was the system,” Newton said. “People undermine that. No disrespect to him. Obviously, I have the utmost respect for him, as we all do as quarterbacks. But I wasn’t just following him. I was following a system that he had the luxury of being in for 20 years. Just imagine that. That’s just like, as a student you’re given six months to take a final exam, honestly, that took 20 years to prepare but you only have, in essence, five weeks to prepare for it.
“So yeah, it was hard at times. It had nothing to do with him. It had a lot more to do with a system and Josh McDaniels — who’s brilliant by the way — of going off of the years of… 2001, 2003. It was nothing for him to say ‘well, we had this play back in 2006.’ Like, 2006, I was in the 10th or 11th grade, you know what I’m saying?”
After signing his one-year contract on July 8, Newton was not able to enjoy the benefits of a full offseason. The NFL also cancelled all preseason games due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which pushed Newton even further behind the eight ball. As the 31-year-old is set to re-enter free agency, he does not plan to make the same mistake again.
“That definitely is going to go into consideration,” Newton said on WEEI. “I’m not going to wait in the latter part of another season when I have the opportunity to do something or sign with someone. And I think I put myself at a disadvantage in that. But yeah you just live and learn.”
While Newton is determined to latch on with the Patriots or a new team rather quickly, it could be more complicated than he hopes. After an inconsistent season, he may not have much interest around the league as a starter. In Newton’s final WEEI radio interview of the season, the Patriots quarterback was as open and honest as usual when asked if he would be open to a backup role.
“For me, when I look at the whole situation, if you’re asking me if I want to be a backup? Hell no,” Newton answered. “Because when I look at the other teams and I am looking at how players play and it’s been guys getting away with what I feel [is] murder for years because of subpar play. Do I have the right to say that with the year that I had this year? No. But, I am going to be honest and say it because that is what I do.
“If you’re asking me if I am better than another person if you give me the name I probably won’t say it now because I know it will be on some type of blog or whatever. But at the same time when you’re asking me when I am going through this process again and I am saying, ‘Would you do this?’ And I am going to say, ‘Well, do you see that?’ It’s just going to go down like that. I have a lot of ammunition in the barrel to get better this offseason and that is what I am going to focus on doing.”
Newton went on to later add: “I know out of 32 guys, I am not the 32 position rank in that position. So you have to also understand I am a competitor first. I think the highest of myself first as any person would and should. I know what my skillset is. I know what my talent is. I understand if given the opportunity there is nobody better than me. That is how I will always feel.”
In what was a season full of ups-and-downs, Newton did take away several positives from his stay in Foxboro — his newfound relationship with Bill Belichick and his health to name two. Newton was also asked on The Greg Hill Show what surprised him the most about Belichick.
“How cool he was,” he said. “I really thought it was like, ‘Oh my goodness, he’s going to be that sour principal that you never want to see in the hallways.’ He’s so cool, man. He’s a guy who, you know, for what it’s worth he seems like that guy you just want to have a drink with. Just sit down and like, ‘Hey man, can I kick it?’ You know what I am saying, ‘Let’s chat.’ I bet he would be so dope at a bar. I mean, he’s got stories out the wazoo. I have never seen him on those instances, just FYI.
“Every time we talk, every time we just have an encounter it’s much appreciated because you know how much football is just flowing in his head. But yet, he has a great way to motivate guys, to understand that this game is not necessarily about the hype or how the media may heighten this whole situation rather than it’s about us and our fundamentals. He does a great job reminding us that constantly.”
As for his health, after playing in just two games last season, Newton played in 15 games this year for the Patriots, missing just one due to contracting Covid-19.
“I’m always the one to find some type of positive in the process,” said Newton. “My one positive from it all, that was I felt was everything for me was I finished the season healthy. I know all reports going into this year was, ‘Is he healthy? Is he this? Is he that?’ And my body feels like I wanted it to feel, as I hoped it would feel from [my] shoulder, from my foot, and even a stint from the oblique. That’s a success in my book however.”
Newton is now looking forward to what he calls his first “healthy offseason” in five or six years. He noted he plans to “make the most of it”, which will start by “obviously [working] on [his] mechanics.”
While he noted it would be “remarkable” to return to New England to finish what he started, Newton explained he is ready to get out of Boston immediately in the mean time.
“Immediately, I haven’t seen my kids in three months,” Newton said. “I’m the dad who takes their kid to daycare. I’m the dad that is the screamer in the bleachers. I’m the dad that looks forward to giving their kids baths at night, reading them bedtime stories, making the wack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and forcing them to eat it because daddy can’t cook, and waiting on Postmates to pull up. I’m the dad that really takes serious a football session and am tackling them as hard as I can but also kissing their little boo-boos after they get scraped by a tackle by dad.
“I’m a hands-on dad, and when you negate that from a man, it weakens him to say the least... I’m just looking so forward to me playing hide-and-seek when I see my kids, you have no idea.”
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