FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s a method to Cam Newton’s moniker madness.
In the three months since his signing, the veteran quarterback has assigned nicknames to nearly all of his New England Patriots teammates (and at least one of his coaches). These range from Julian “Highway 11” Edelman to Ja’Whaun “Bent Dog” Bentley to Brian “The Hoyster” Hoyer.
As Newton explained after Sunday’s 36-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s his own personal way of keeping things light amid the all-business culture inside Gillette Stadium.
“You’ve just got to keep it fun,” Newton said in his postgame video conference. “I just appreciate the guys for just rolling with it, man. One thing I did, kind of from walking in Day 1 — there’s an aura that you get when you play as a member of the New England Patriots, and that aura can sometimes be like ‘grrr,’ you know what I’m saying? The Patriot Way, to a degree, from the outside looking in. But from the inside looking out, these guys really enjoy the process, as well as myself. And me being a member, I’m just lucky to be here.
“Any time I can lighten the mood in some way, shape, or form, I hesitate not.”
Newton, who also has a personalized handshake for each teammate, dropped several of these nicknames in his Sunday presser, praising offensive coordinator Josh “Mickey D’s” McDaniels for his game plan and “Smokin'” Joe Thuney for his ability to replace David “Dirty Dave” Andrews at center.
Running backs Rex “Burky” Burkhead, Sony “Sone-Sone” Michel and J.J. “Small Fry” Taylor also received shoutouts after the Patriots racked up 250 rushing yards, as did wide receiver N’Keal “Doughboy” Harry, whose 27-yard reception helped set up New England’s final offensive touchdown.