Aug 23, 2021
Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN in 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton will remain away from the team until Thursday due to a “misunderstanding” on COVID-19 tests “conducted away from NFL facilities,” the club announced Monday.
Newton’s absence comes after he traveled to a Patriots-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England region, according to the team’s statement.
“He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility,” the statement read.
According to NFL-NFLPA protocols, Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals — including all players — are exempt from daily testing and allowed to travel if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Newton will continue participating virtually in team activities but will miss practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wednesday practice is the first of two with the New York Giants in Foxborough.
Coach Bill Belichick said earlier Monday that Newton is the starting quarterback, but like players at any position, he still has to reestablish that standing throughout the preseason. Belichick said there could be a change at any position if someone performs better than the starter or the starter isn’t available.
Newton had taken No. 1 reps throughout training camp until Monday. He started both preseason games and is 12-of-16 passing for 152 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has played a total of 29 snaps.
Jones has been the No. 2 quarterback, coming in behind Newton at practice and in the first two preseason games. He is 26-of-38 passing for 233 yards, with no touchdowns and interceptions, over two preseason games. He has played 77 snaps.
Earlier in training camp when Newton was asked if he was vaccinated, he declined comment, saying it was a personal matter.
Veteran safety Devin McCourty, a longtime Patriots captain who filmed a public service announcement about vaccinations with fellow captain Matthew Slater, was asked about that Monday as it relates to Newton’s status.
“I think I’ve said it to a lot to guys, and the little video me and Slate did — vaccinations is a personal decision. That’s up to each individual,” he said. “And as far as how the team views that, and how we go forward, that’s a Bill Belichick question. I feel like he would tee that up, and knock that out of the park. So I’m going to leave that for Bill and let him handle that.”