Cam Newton didn't mince words when asked about the New England Patriots losing running back Rex Burkhead to injury in the second half of Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans.
"It's extremely devastating -- knowing how great of a teammate he is, knowing how great of a leader he is, knowing what he brings to this team,” Newton said during his postgame video press conference. “But he’s a warrior, and I know he’ll be back stronger. His influence will be missed.”
Burkhead suffered a knee injury in the third quarter, and according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe, the team fears the veteran running back has torn his ACL.
An ACL tear would end Burkhead's 2020 season.
Losing the 31-year-old veteran for any length of time would be a really tough blow for the Patriots. Burkhead leads all Patriots running backs with six total touchdowns (three rushing, three receiving) and has played in all 10 of the team's games. The Patriots have a lot of trust in Burkhead, especially in late-game situations -- remember his two touchdowns at the end of the 2018 AFC Championship Game?
The injury also comes at the worst possible time for Burkhead from a personal standpoint. He's on track to have the best statistical season of his career and is eligible for unrestricted free agency next offseason. This injury likely will impact how that process unfolds for him.
The Patriots will need Damien Harris, Sony Michel and James White to step up in Burkhead's absence if he misses some or all of what's left in the 2020 regular season. New England returns to game action against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium next Sunday.