Questions about Cam Newton?s fit with the New England Patriots weren?t completely out of line, because the All-Pro quarterback actually shared some of the same concerns prior to signing in early July.
But life has been good — great, even — for the former Carolina Panthers quarterback two months into his tenure with the Patriots. Newton was named the Patriots? starting quarterback by head coach Bill Belichick and was voted an offensive captain by his teammates last week.
“The same questions that a lot of people, and talk shows, gossip talk, and barber-shop talk, and chitter-chatter text messages wanted to know, I wanted to know as well,” Newton said Monday morning on WEEI?s ?The Greg Hill Show.? “Is it real what they say about Belichick? Is it going to be too … I didn’t know. I think, honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me, just knowing that I’m at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared toward winning.
“Coming from a person that has won at all levels, I feel as if I do the things the right way, trusting a lot of the same people that got me to this point, and trusting coaching, I think this is something that when you look at an opportunity in a timely manner it can be accomplished.”
Newton didn’t beat around the push while addressing the concerns about his potential fit in New England.
“We’re going honest? It is because I’m a Black athlete, a quarterback that for a long time, I’ve been unapologetic; carried myself in a way that the media hasn’t gave me my just due,” Newton said. “But yet at the same time, I do understand that and I don’t have no type of resentment toward that. I embrace who I am, I embrace the moment. I live in the moment. One of the quotes I live by is carpe diem.
“Throughout it all, I’ve been able to see an opportunity. I went down a list of things I expect from Bill Belichick, just like Bill Belichick wants a list of things he wants out of Cam Newton. I think the narrative coming here was kind of stereotypical to an unjust eye; ‘We heard this about Cam. We heard that. He’s a prima donna. He’s this and that.’ But when you really put a microscope to who I really am, there is a lot of favoritism that has not been favorable for my benefit.
“But through it all, I’m not going to make this about me. I want to make this about this team and how to gain these guys’ trust. I think that’s the biggest thing, the biggest challenge I have doing, is letting these guys understand, ‘Listen, I know there’s been a lot said, I can feel the eyes and the attention that’s on me as soon as I walk inside the facility, but at the end of the day, you guys got to know a lot of that is BS, and I’m here to remove all doubts.’
Newton’s perception of Belichick changed after they first talked. And Newton noted that Belichick has made it work with a lot of different personalities throughout his coaching career from Tom Brady to Randy Moss, Corey Dillon, Lawrence Taylor and Tedy Bruschi.
“It’s no wonder why he’s sustained success over the years,” Newton said. “When I name those players, those are just a small smorgasbord of different types of guys, cultures, personas, and everything alike. If he was able to accomplish those things with those players, it made a lot of sense from the time I spoke to him, and obviously meeting him face to face, it removed any type of doubt — if I even had any. It’s just exciting to play for a person like that.”
The Patriots and Newton have formed a strong partnership this summer, but it’s about sustaining that fit throughout the 2020 NFL season. Their first test will come in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13 at Gillette Stadium.
Photo via New England Patriots