Cam Newton announced on Instagram today that he’s got “a lot of things to get off my chest...” and will do so his “Funky Friday” show.
I don’t know if Funky Friday is a regular offering but I do think Cam could have taken another shot at saying the word “funky” to ensure it wasn’t mistaken for another similar-sounding word.
Be that as it may … what does Newton have on his chest? He says this won’t be a retirement speech. So in some fashion this will be an explainer as to why – in his mind – he’s out of work. And that’s where things could get interesting for the Patriots.
The only buzz around Newton since being released by the Patriots has been provided by teams saying they’re not interested in hiring him. Dallas. Washington. Even the Steelers. JuJu Smith-Schuster weighed in this week to say there was no buzz in his locker room for Cam. Accompanying all the “thanks, but no thanks…” have been damaging stories related to his injuries, throwing issues or playbook mastery.
Further, in the immediate aftermath of Newton’s surprising release, I’d say most people in the media and on social platforms placed Newton’s vaccination status as the prime reason. And while Bill Belichick has twice wandered into the vaccination conversation relative to Newton, saying it made no difference at all, I’d be surprised if Newton doesn’t address either his vaccination status or the COVID protocol violation that cost him five days away from the team.
Because right now, Newton needs to save face. And in doing so, that means he may have to lay the blame somewhere other than his diminishing skills. Newton was quick to point out last offseason how much his COVID layoff affected him in 2020. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t chalk up Mac Jones pushing past him during training camp to his time away from the team in the final week of camp.
Will Newton give insight into what the “misunderstanding” was that led to him missing an approved COVID test? Will he explain what the ailment was that led to him needing a second opinion in Atlanta? Will he divulge whether or not the Patriots encouraged him to get vaccinated, which – by the way – is obviously not outside the rules since just about every coach in the league was more publicly strident about vaccinations than Belichick? Would he have accepted a role as a backup in New England? Was it offered? What will he say to shoot down the notion he had to go to Jones for playbook assistance?
Basically, Newton has to give his version of why he’s not with the Patriots. And I don’t expect that to center on his flagging accuracy, heavy-leggedness in the pocket and slow decision-making. So what will it be? I look forward to finding out.
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