Cam Newton is entering his 10th season in the NFL, but the year 2020 has been one of firsts for the quarterback.
Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers in March, ending a largely successful nine-year run with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011. It was the first time in his career that he had been cut.
After several months of being on the free agent market, Newton agreed to a one-year, incentive-driven deal with New England in June after long-time Patriots passer Tom Brady departed to Tampa Bay. And, according to Newton, joining Bill Belichick's squad was the best possible choice he could have made.
“Honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me," Newton said on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show.
Then, he expanded on why.
"Just knowing I am at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared towards winning," Newton said. "Coming from a person that has won at all levels, I feel as if that if I do the things the right way, trusting the same people who have gotten me to this point and trust their coaching, I think this is something that when you look at an opportunity in a timely manner, it can be accomplished."
Thus far, Newton has been fitting in nicely with his new team.
Last week, reports surfaced that Newton had been named the team's starting quarterback, although Belichick would not confirm that to the media. That same day, he was named one of the Patriots eight captains for the 2020 season.
During his nine seasons with the Panthers, Newton played under now-Washington head coach Ron Rivera. The two had plenty of success together, winning four division titles, peaking with a Super Bowl appearance in 2015, the same year Newton won league MVP.
Newton and Rivera are close. Multiple times this offseason, Rivera praised his former quarterback, at one point even saying "I wouldn't bet against a healthy Cam."
While the two aren't reunited, Newton is thrilled to play for another very well-respected head coach in Belichick.
"I think every type of stereotype that I had about Coach Belichick changed the day I talked to him," Newton said.
“You look at the linage of players he’s had over the years — obviously the Brady’s, the Randy Moss’, the Corey Dillon’s, the Lawrence Taylor’s, and the list goes on, Tedy Bruschi, it’s no wonder why he’s sustained success over the years. If he was able to accomplish those things with those players, it made a lot of sense. The time when I spoke to him and obviously meeting with him face-to-face, it removed any type of doubt, if I even had any. It’s just exciting to play for a person like that.”