On Friday morning, Cam Newton made his first public comments since being cut by the New England Patriots on August 31st. The former MVP posted a 43-minute discussion with his father, entitled “My Side of the Story”, on his Youtube channel.
Throughout the session, Newton delved into the realization that he had been released and New England’s motives behind the shocking move, as well as his five-day absence after a misunderstanding of COVID-19 protocols.
Cam began the discussion by ensuring that retirement is not in his immediate plans.
“This giving me, like, retirement vibes,” said the quarterback. “This is not that … Absolutely not.”
Newton noted that leading up to his release, he had noticed a palpable change during team practices.
“During that time, I started seeing signs of change … at practice,” Newton said. “As far as how they treated me, it was no different … That time with me finding out and kind of seeing things different, when I look back at it, I was probably getting two reps to his 10 reps. And that’s why it was starting to make sense … Even though I was starting, that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing.”
Cam proceeded to describe how the Patriots were able to hide their nearing QB shift from the media.
“I think that’s where they did a good job with kind of disguising it: ‘Cam took first-team reps today.’ But [the media] didn’t know the practice structure,” said Newton. “The first team goes down, the second team goes back, and then the first team comes back, too. And that’s when [Mac Jones] was getting his first-team reps.”
The free-agent QB also recalled the morning of his release, saying that he arrived at Gillette around 8:00 AM before promptly having to call his driver to come back and pick him up.
“It was a Tuesday morning. For people who don’t know, I never drove in Boston,” he explained. “I always had my assistant drive me. So, it was funny because he dropped me off, and then I called him like, ‘Come back.'”
“When it happened … [Offensive Coordinator] Matt Patricia was there. Bill was there,” added Newton. “And we greeted each other and just start talking … At that time, they told me they were going to give the reigns to Mac. And I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’ … It didn’t dawn on me that I was [being released] … I was confused. We were all shocked. It was uncomfortable for everybody.”
On why the Patriots made the decision to release him, Newton said, “Indirectly, I was going to be a distraction … Just my aura … That’s my gift and my curse. When you bring a Cam Newton to your facility, when you bring a Cam Newton to your franchise, people are interested … ‘Who is he?’ ‘Why does he wear his hair?’ ‘Why does he talk?’ ‘Why does he act?’ ‘Why does he perform?’ All these questions.”
He added that he would’ve been willing to backup Mac Jones if given the opportunity.
“Let me be honest with you. If they would have asked me, ‘Cam, we’re going to give the team to Mac, you’re going to be second string; we expect you to be everything and some to guide him throughout this tenure,’ I would’ve said, ‘Absolutely.’ … But listen, the truth of the matter is this: He would’ve been uncomfortable [with me looking over his shoulder] … Mac Jones didn’t beat me out. But I would have been a distraction.”
When the topic of his five-day absence due to a misunderstanding of virus protocols came up, Newton remarked, “Do I think this would have happened without me being away for five days? Honestly, yes … It was going to happen. Did it help ease the decision? Yes.”
He later revealed that he made the trip to attend a follow-up appointment on his 2019 Lisfranc surgery, and that the team had given him permission to go.
“[The Patriots] gave me clearance to go. So, I don’t want nobody to think that I just went … I’m owed a second opinion. That’s just a fact. The trip was necessary because this was the last time I felt I was going to get the opportunity to get a second opinion. Not to say that the personnel with the Patriots wasn’t coherent to telling me everything that I needed to know. But, having four eyes on it is better than having two eyes on it, in my opinion. It wasn’t that I was having any issues or pain, I just wanted to do a checkup … I felt obligated to check back in, with like a six-month review.
“So, I crossed all the lines, I checked all the boxes, I dotted all my eyes. And then, to find out that I had to sit out … that’s when I kind of felt bamboozled. Cause I’m like, ‘Y’all told me to go.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Cam, you know if you go, you taking it up on your own risk, now.’ It was not that … We had already arranged everything.”
His father asked whether he would’ve taken the trip knowing the consequences, and Cam responded, “Absolutely not.”
Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, Sr., reflected on his son’s lack of opportunity in 2021, saying, “I wanted to see you with the keys to the Porsche … [Last season] you had a 2002 red Civic with a yellow passenger door, with a bungee cord holding that door. And it was a 4-cylinder, and there wasn’t but 3 cylinders firing … So now you going to take the Porsche, and give the keys to somebody else.”
Cam drew the conversation to a close by saying, “It is what it is man. Ain’t no need to belabor the fact … [Mac Jones] is a well-deserving player … He did do what he came to do. He proved that he can be productive, and he will be productive.”
In a final statement, Cecil added, “They can put everything on paper that this guy is all as advertised. Sunday afternoons [are] going to disclose whether you are as advertised.”
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)