Free-agent quarterback Cam Newton said he didn’t see his release from the New England Patriots coming in his first remarks since the team cut him 10 days ago.
“Did it catch me by surprise being released? Absolutely,” Newton said in a video released Friday morning.
Newton’s remarks came in a YouTube Live video in which he sat down with his father, Cecil, on the football field at Newton’s high school alma mater in Atlanta.
Newton told his father he didn’t believe his five-day absence from the Patriots due to a COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding” in August was the primary reason for his release but added: “During that time, I started seeing signs of change. … Do I think this would have happened without me being away from the team for five days? Honestly, yes. It was going to happen. Did it help ease the decision? Yes.”
Newton said he “absolutely” would have been willing to serve as a backup to rookie Mac Jones, but it was his belief that Jones “would have been uncomfortable” with that arrangement.
The 32-year-old Newton said he isn’t retiring, believes the Patriots will win games with Jones at quarterback and detailed his viewpoint of how things shifted at practice.
“That time with me finding out [about the release] 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,” Newton said. “Even though I was starting, that doesn’t necessarily mean nothing.
“I think that’s where they did a good job with kind of disguising it: ‘Cam took first-team reps today.’ But [media members] didn’t know the practice structure. The first-team goes down, the second team goes back, and then the first team comes back too. And that’s when [Jones] was getting his first-team reps.”