Cam Newton reflected on the end of his nine-year tenure with the Carolina Panthers on Friday during his first media availability as a member of the New England Patriots.
“I wake up mad,” the quarterback said when asked if he’s motivated by it. He added, “the past is the past” and he won’t dwell on it.
The Panthers released Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft and 2015 league MVP, in March after signing Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal. Newton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in late June.
He was complimentary and said he was excited to be in a new organization.
Newton: Joining Patriots ‘breath of fresh air’
Newton said on a video call with reporters that being with the Patriots has been a “breath of fresh air” and it’s “invigorating” to be on a new team.
“Listen, I am still constantly, I don’t want to say disbelief at this particular point in time, but it’s just a surreal moment,” he said. “Nobody really knows how excited I am just to be part of this organization in (more) ways than one. Just following up such a powerful dynasty that is rich with so much prestige, lineage of success, that for me a lot of people would hide from the notion to do certain things, but for me I think this opportunity is something I wake up pinching myself every day. It’s so surreal coming down One Patriot Place every single day seeing the whole ambiance.”
He added he was “blown away by the professionalism” of the Patriots organization, from head coach Bill Belichick to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the Kraft family.
— Patriots on NBCSB (@NBCSPatriots) August 7, 2020
Concerns about playing for Belichick?
Newton’s ex-teammate Kyle Love, who also played in New England, voiced concern this week about how Newton will handle taking criticism from Belichick.
Newton referenced how he’d get along with Belichick on the call.
“There's a perception, but at the end of the day, it's football. I've loved it ever since I've been here. ... It's just about finding your way to prove your worth on the team.”
Is Newton ready to play after injuries?
Newton, 31, said he’s “full go” when asked about his right throwing shoulder. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on it in January 2019 after missing the final two games of the season. It was the same shoulder he had surgery on in March 2017 to fix a partially torn rotator cuff.
His foot is also a concern after he underwent surgery on it in December. Newton played only two games last season.
“Just right now, for me, the season’s not here yet, so I do still have time,” Newton said about his health, via NESN. “Working with the training staff here as well as having all the outlets at your disposal to get better and be as confident as (can) be come opening day or when the team may need you, I think that’s the most important thing.
“As far as how I feel right now, I feel amazing. I feel great. Probably not any different from any other person who’s in that locker room right now. So I’m extremely optimistic about that. But through it all, it’s just putting yourself in the position to be in the best shape and have your body in the best possible situation when you actually need it.”
Newton is competing for the starting quarterback spot with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. He told reporters he was looking forward to it and “definitely ready” to start. And as for replacing Tom Brady, he said he doesn’t view it that way.
“I just look at it as being myself,” he said.
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