Last week, the New England Patriots officially moved into a new era under center when they named rookie Mac Jones their starting quarterback and released Cam Newton. The move was considered something of a surprise in league circles since Newton had been the presumptive starter through much of the preseason.
On Friday, Newton released a YouTube video where he spoke with his father about the Pats' decision to release him, how and why Jones became the team's starter, and more.
"Did it catch me by surprise being released? Absolutely," Newton said.
Specifically, Newton addressed the sequence of events that led to him having to miss five days of training camp as a result of a miscommunication regarding away-from-the-facility COVID-19 testing. He said his absence was to visit the doctor who performed surgery on his foot back in 2019 and that the Patriots approved the visit. He also said he would not have visited said doctor if he knew he would have to sit out five days of practice.
"To find out I had to sit out, that's when I kinda felt bamboozled, because y'all told me to go," he said.
However, Newton told his father that he believes the Patriots would have released him even if he did not have to miss five days of camp. "Do I think this would have happened without me being away from the team for 5 days? Honestly yes, it was going to happen," Newton said. "Did it help ease the decision? Yes."
Newton noted he began losing practice reps to Jones later in camp, even though he was playing with the starters during preseason contests. "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," he said. "Even though I was starting, that doesn't necessarily mean nothing, and that's where they did a good job of disguising it."
Newton stated that he believes he had to be released because his "aura" would be a distraction for the team. Despite that assertion, Newton said he would have been willing to be Jones' backup and that he believes Jones will be productive in his role as the team's starter this season.
The Mac Jones era in New England has begun following the stunning release of Cam Newton. How will the rookie fare this season and what does it mean for the rest of the Patriots' players? Download the CBS Sports app to find out! Plus, get insight from our resident Patriots insider, Tyler Sullivan. If you already have the CBS Sports app, make sure to pick the Patriots as your favorite team for up-to-the-minute news.