Patriots quarterback Cam Newton recently sat down for a roundtable discussion with fellow NFL stars Odell Beckham Jr., Todd Gurley, and former wide receiver Victor Cruz.
Covering a wide range of topics, including the league’s potential approach to playing during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the ongoing fight for social justice, the discussion eventually broached the topic of Newton signing with the Patriots.
For the 31-year-old former NFL MVP, his release from the Panthers in March — and near-three month unemployment — was a sobering experience.
“I had to count the days I was unemployed,” said Newton. “It was 86 nights.”
Newton acknowledged that the prolonged lack of interest from other teams has fueled his motivation to make a comeback in New England.
“I’m feeling disrespected,” Newton explained, “Because every team at one point had to say, ‘OK fellas, Cam Newton. What do we think? Ah, pass.’”
Skeptics of Newton’s potential future with the Patriots circle around how he will work with Patriots coach Bill Belichick. However, the players agreed that the longtime New England coach only wants to do one thing: win.
“There is no ‘How is this going to work?’” said Beckham. “For me, all [Belichick] wants to do is put you in a place to succeed. And I’m happy to see it.”
Of course, Newton is replacing Tom Brady, who led the Patriots to all six of their Super Bowls wins.
The new Patriots quarterback didn’t avoid the subject of having to replace a legend.
“We have to talk about the elephant in the room,” Newton admitted of following Brady. “It’s like you know who you’re coming after. I’m like, yeah, great. What he was, what he is, is great, needs no even talking about it. But one thing about it though: Coach [Josh] McDaniels, you’re able to call some stuff that you ain’t ever been able to call now.”
In an encouraging sign for Patriots fans, Newton noted how he’s approaching New England’s 2020 schedule.
“You’re getting a dog,” Newton said of what he’ll bring to the Patriots. “You’re getting one of these ticked off dogs, too. And I’m looking at the schedule and I’m like, ‘Who we’re playing? That team passed on me! OK, that team passed on me. They could’ve came and got me.’”
Watch the whole thing: