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Bill Belichick: Cam Newton’s vaccination status not a consideration

Mike Florio and Chris Simms react to Patriots' shocking decision to release Cam Newton and start rookie Mac Jones at QB.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media on Wednesday morning for the first time since the team released quarterback Cam Newton and that decision was the main focus of the questions sent Belichick’s way during the press conference.

Belichick said he was “not going to go into the details or timing” about the decision to go with first-round pick Mac Jones as the starting quarterback because “it would take forever” to rehash everything that’s gone on since Jones joined the team. He also declined to comment about why the team did not keep Newton on hand as a backup to Jones.

Newton missed practice time last week because of COVID-19 protocols for unvaccinated players and Belichick was asked if Newton’s vaccination status played a role in his release. Belichick said it did not play a role and said he “wouldn’t lose sight” of the fact that vaccinated players have missed time after testing positive this summer.

Belichick said he didn’t know if Newton missing time helped push Jones into the No. 1 spot on the depth chart, but it couldn’t have helped the veteran’s chances of getting a second season in New England.