Newton sat down with his father for a conversation on YouTube about his final days with the team, including the days of practice he missed after failing to follow COVID-19 protocols during days off in August. Newton said he thinks he would have been released whether he was with the team for all of their practices or not.
“Do I think this would have happened without me being away for five days? Honestly, yes,” Newton said. “It was gonna happen. Did it help ease the decision? Yes.”
That led to the question about why he did get released when the team made its final cuts on August 31. Newton said he was getting fewer first-team reps than Mac Jones in practices, which pointed to the team’s eventual decision. Newton said he would have “absolutely” been fine backing up the rookie and told the Patriots that was the case, but was confused when he realized he was being released during a meeting with Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia.
Newton went on to say that he believes he was released because it would have been uncomfortable for Jones to start his career with Newton looming over his shoulder.
“The reason they released me is because, indirectly, I was going to be a distraction without being the starter,” Newton said. “Just my aura. . . . That’s my gift and my curse. When you bring a Cam Newton to your facility, when you bring a Cam Newton to your franchise, people are interested.”
Newton said he thinks the Patriots would be winners with either quarterback, but that sticking with him and starting well would have made it harder to go to Jones at some point this year. The Patriots opted to go right to Jones and Sunday’s game against the Dolphins will provide the first chance to see how the rookie does in the role Newton wanted to fill this season.