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Cam Newton declines to discuss whether he’s vaccinated

Mike Florio and Chris Simms evaluate the Patriots' quarterback situation between Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones and express why Jones is unlikely to start over Newton, despite his ability to make quick decisions.

Another day, another starting quarterback steps into the vaccination fray.

Via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton opted not to discuss his vaccination status when meeting with reporters on Friday.

“It’s too personal to discuss,” Newton said. “I’ll just keep it at that.”

Unlike Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose starting job is secure, Newton is battling with rookie Mac Jones. If Newton becomes unavailable due to a positive test (10 days minimum) or close contact with an infected person (five days minimum), Jones gets the advantage that comes from availability.

Besides, Newton already knows what can happen when a positive COVID test occurs. Not long before the Patriots were due to play the Chiefs last season, Newton tested positive -- and in many respects his absence derailed his season and the team’s season.

Newton is surely smart enough to realize these things. The Patriots undoubtedly have been doing enough to get him to understand why he should get vaccinated. The fact that he still apparently refuses underscores how strongly some people feel about this.

As to Newton, he could end up handing Mac Jones the starting job if Newton gets knocked off the roster during the season. The possibility that Newton suddenly will be unavailable on any/every given day also could be enough to resolve a close competition in favor of the rookie, if he’s vaccinated.

Maybe it will take a decision like that, or perhaps the unexpected release of a high-profile unvaccinated player, to finally pierce through the wall of whatever it is that is keeping these guys from do what they need to do, for their own good, for the good of their teams, and for the good of their society.