It’s been almost two weeks since the Patriots cut Cam Newton, and now the QB has responded in one of the most frank, fascinating interviews pro football has ever seen. On Friday morning Newton released a 45 minute video titled “My Side Of The Story,” where he sat down with his father, Cecil Newton Sr. to discuss his process of getting cut.
What makes it so unique is that this isn’t some fiery, angry tirade against the Patriots. In fact, it’s the contrary. Numerous times throughout the chat Newton stops his father, or alludes to him being biased in the situation because it involves his son, and not just a football player. Furthermore, Newton is largely complimentary of Mac Jones, saying he’s will will football games with the Patriots this season, adding that he has no ill will — but also admitting he feels New England would have won a lot of games with himself at the helm as well. Here are the moments that jumped out to me.
In Cam’s mind there wasn’t one big event that led to his release
It’s impossible to talk about Newton’s release from New England without at least exploring his vaccination status. The quarterback refused to answer questions about whether he’d received the shot to protect him against Covid, and this was exacerbated when he took a trip to Atlanta and was forced to miss five days under Covid protocols.
Much has been speculated about whether Newton’s vaccination status led to his release, but the QB doesn’t believe it did (of course, he would probably say this). What Newton does discuss though is how he felt the mood change in practice towards Mac Jones. It wasn’t so much that people were treating Cam differently, but he could tell more and more faith was being put in the rookie.
Essentially Newton believes Jones passed the test that he could handle the load, and the decision was made before his Covid protocol status even became a factor.
“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.”
The sentiment from Newton over being released wasn’t anger, but disappointment, and understanding.
Newton seems frustrated fans don’t understand preseason
This is illuminating, because it gives us a look into Newton’s thought process. While discussing his, let’s face it, lackluster performance during the reps he received, Newton explains that in his view, preseason is inherently biased against him, because of how he plays football.
“All my preseason game plans are kind of watered down, lethargic, vanilla — my performance, my skillset won’t show in no preseason. There are quarterback runs, design runs, scrambling ability — and there are times I felt like I could have scrambled in preseason, but I’m like, man I’m saving myself for the season.”
If there’s one thing that actually makes Newton mad, it’s claims he was a bad teammate
The only element of this entire interview where it seems Cam comes close to getting mad is when he discusses some reports that say he was a distraction in the locker room.
“I’m giving myself a pat on the back, because never not once did anyone in the facility, player, coach — anybody have anything to say about conduct detrimental to the locker room. I pride myself, and still pride myself on being the ultimate professional.”
Newton vehemently denies that he did anything inside the organization to warrant being cut.
However, he does believe he would have been a distraction
Newton shoots from the hip on this one, and he’s absolutely right. At this point it’s his belief that Mac Jones did enough to earn a chance to start in training camp, and that made Newton’s presence a liability.
“The reason why they released me is because indirectly I was going to be a distraction. Just my aura, just my aura — and I told you this off camera. It’s my blessing and my curse. When you bring Cam Newton to your facility, when you bring Cam Newton to your franchise, people are interested, people are intrigued ‘Who is he? Why does he talk like that? Why does he wear his hair like that?’ All these questions.”
Newton goes on to say that if he was pulled aside and asked to be a mentor to Jones, he would have done so gladly — but he feels that Jones would have been uncomfortable if that was the case. Purely because any slip ups, any mistakes, would have led to calls for Newton to start. That’s not something a young QB needs.
You really should watch all of this
If you’re able to, it’s worth checking out this entire interview. So much of the tone and emotion can get lost just quoting, but you really get a sense that Newton isn’t angry with the Patriots, or ready to grind an ax with Bill Belichick, Mac Jones, or Josh McDaniels — he just understands it’s a part of the business. If we get more candid sitdowns like this we really could be seeing something very special, and very unusual from normally boring NFL interviews.