Amid the speculation surrounding Cam Newton's release from the New England Patriots, one topic kept coming up: Did his five-day absence due to a COVID test "misunderstanding" precipitate his exit?
Newton addressed that topic among several others Friday in an interview with his father, Cecil, as part of his "Funky Friday" YouTube series.
"Do I think (my release) would have happened without me being away for five days? Honestly, yes," Newton said. "It was gonna happen. Did it help ease the (Patriots') decision? Yes."
Newton said he got clearance from the Patriots to travel to Atlanta to get a second opinion from the foot doctor who diagnosed him with a Lisfranc injury in 2019. New England confirmed in a statement at the time that the team signed off on Newton's visit, but added that Newton had to be held out for five days due to a "misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities."
Newton said he was surprised and frustrated to learn he would be sidelined for a five-day stretch leading up to the Patriots' preseason finale against the New York Giants.
"I crossed all the lines, I checked all the boxes, I dotted all my Is, then to find out that I had to sit out," Newton said. "But I'm like... that's when I kind of felt bamboozled, because I'm like, 'Y'all told me to go!'
"It wasn't like, 'Cam, you know if you go, you're taking it up under your own risk now.' It was not that."
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones took advantage of Newton's absence, putting forth a pair of solid practices -- one during a joint session with the Giants -- that helped distinguish him as the team's top QB.
When Newton's father asked if he would have still gone to see the doctor knowing it would cost him five days, Newton replied, "Absolutely not."
Newton likely wouldn't have missed time due to his Atlanta trip had he been vaccinated, as the NFL has more rigorous COVID testing protocols for unvaccinated players. But head coach Bill Belichick insisted Newton's vaccination status didn't impact his release, and Newton appears to share the belief that Jones simply was the better quarterback this summer.
"They're going to win football games with Mac Jones," Newton said of the Patriots' first-round draft pick. "Mac is good enough."
Check out Newton's full conversation below or on YouTube.
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