Patriots' Bill Belichick ends speculation over Cam Newton's release

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New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday ended all speculation over why Cam Newton was cut from the team, and it had nothing to do with the quarterback’s vaccination status.

Speculation ran rampant soon after Newton was released, which made rookie Mac Jones the starting quarterback. Newton had not been clear over whether he was vaccinated. He told reporters in August it was “too personal to discuss.”

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts during a preseason NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass., in this Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, file photo. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

“Your implication that the vaccination solves every problem…has not been substantiated. The number of players and coaches and staff members who have been infected with COVID after being vaccinated is a pretty high number. I wouldn’t lose sight of that,” Belichick added, via the NFL Network.

Jones and Newton vied all summer for the starting quarterback job.

Belichick explained what he saw from Jones that separated him from the pack.

“First of all, he’s had a high level of production,” he said, via Pro Football Talk. “I feel like he’s been able to show an ability to do things the way we want them done at a productive level. He’s young, I’m sure he’ll continue to learn and grow. We’ll see where that goes. That’s why we drafted him and I think he’s come in and performed at a level that supports that.”

Where Newton goes next is up for debate. He said on Instagram on Tuesday no one should feel sorry for him as he moves to the next chapter of his career.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, center, huddles with teammates during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Patriots signed Newton in the middle of the 2020 offseason after nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers, and he was thrust into a nearly impossible situation. He had to fill the big gap left by Tom Brady departing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had to deal with key players opting out over coronavirus concerns.

Newton himself also contracted coronavirus but missed only one game. In 15 games, he had 2,657 passing yards and only eight touchdown passes. He added 592 yards on the ground and 12 rushing touchdowns. New England failed to make the playoffs.

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