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dan shaughnessy

Reeling from the Cam Newton news, and other thoughts

Foxborough, MA: 09-27-20: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had his hands on his head for quite awhile as quarterback Cam Newton came back to the bench after the team failed to convert a first half third down. The New England Patriot hosted the Las Vegas Raiders in an NFL regular season football game at Gillette Stadium. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Picked-up pieces while loathing Kyrie Irving and loving the way he dominates basketball games …

Cam Newton is back with the Patriots. Wow. Maybe the Celtics should summon Rick Pitino for another try at the New Garden. I understand Carl Crawford is available to give the Red Sox some veteran depth in their depleted outfield.

Newton threw only eight touchdown passes to go along with 10 interceptions in 15 games for the 7-9 Patriots last year. A good soldier and teammate, he was absolutely brutal to watch behind center. He threw like Robbie Amell in “The Duff,” like Dr. Anthony Fauci at Nationals Park, like Anthony Perkins in “Fear Strikes Out.” Get my drift?

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The decision-making behind center was even worse. It was hard not to feel sorry for the guy.

Rodney Harrison said, “It would be a terrible mistake for Bill Belichick to bring Cam back because Cam can’t play football anymore. He just can’t play quarterback in the National Football League.”

That pretty much covers it for me. How about you?

As ever, stubborn Bill knows more than we do. And he’s going to show you how smart he is again. Here’s hoping Cam is returning in a backup role. But $14 million seems steep for a backup.

Oh, and while we were still reeling from the Newton news, the diabolical Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced a contract extension for Tom Brady.

The heat is on in Foxborough. Now more than ever.

▪ Glass-half-full Red Sox fans are counting on big things from the draft this year. Boston has the fourth overall pick — its best draft position in 54 years. Swell.

But before you get too excited, let’s remember that since 1998, the only major league player who became an All-Star after being drafted at No. 4 is Ryan Zimmerman.

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It would be great if the Sox could land a Barry Larkin, Thurman Munson, or Kerry Wood, who were all selected with the No. 4 pick. But this is not like having an NFL or NBA No. 4 pick.

Here are all the No. 4 picks since 1998: Jeff Austin, Corey Myers, Mike Stodolka, Gavin Floyd, Adam Loewen, Tim Stauffer, Jeff Niemann, Zimmerman, Brad Lincoln, Daniel Moskos, Brian Matusz, Tony Sanchez (a Boston College catcher who was picked by the Pirates), Christian Colón, Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Kohl Stewart, Kyle Schwarber, Dillon Tate, Riley Pint, Brendan McKay, Nick Madrigal, J.J. Bleday, Asa Lacy.

How many franchise-changing players are on that list?

▪ I suppose I should be enthused about the farce that is about to unfold, a.k.a. March Madness, but it’s hard to get into it. Are you aware that if one of the top seeds drops out because of COVID, it will be replaced by a team not originally selected for the tourney, and the replacement team will become a top seed?

▪ In 1986, when Larry Bird was the NBA’s first “Three-Point King,” he took 194 3-pointers in 82 regular-season games. There were 133 3-pointers heaved in last Sunday’s 48-minute NBA All-Star Game.

▪ I’m told Lady Gaga tried to hire Ed Davis to get to the bottom of who kidnapped her dogs, but Davis is still busy cracking the case in the Dominican.

▪ Quiz: Former Red Sox reliever Rheal Cormier died last week. Cormier pitched in 683 big league games. Name the only Canadian who pitched in more (answer below).

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▪ Wonder if Time Lord Robert Williams knows that he’s wearing Danny Ainge’s No. 44. I predict that the Celtics someday will retire the number in Ainge’s honor.

▪ Carla Wallenda, 85-year-old member of the high-wire Wallendas, died last weekend in Florida. Like everything else in the world, there is a Wallenda Red Sox connection.

When the ill-fated 1978 Red Sox went to Puerto Rico for a spring training game, manager Don Zimmer was standing on the street in San Juan when Karl Wallenda, Carla’s father, plunged to his death while walking between 100-foot-high hotel towers.

Zimmer, Mike Torrez, and Globe baseball scribe Larry Whiteside all witnessed the tragic fall, and Whiteside wrote a Page One story on the horrific event for the next day’s Globe.

▪ Leftovers from Dennis Eckersley: “I can’t stand the Rays. I don’t know what it is. I think it’s my old-school stuff kicking in, but I know they are legit and know how to get things done.”

Like every other Hall of Famer, Eckersley was crushed by the loss of 10 Cooperstown greats over the last year and feels badly that there will be no gathering at the Otesaga Hotel for this summer’s induction.

“It’s awful,” said Eckersley. “You can’t even say goodbye to 10 guys. And you’ve got to feel sorry for Derek Jeter this summer. He gets in and it’s virtual. What is that? It’s the best you can do, it’s nobody’s fault, but that’s just awful. Nobody gets their due.”

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▪ Last weekend, I mentioned Yaz references in the films “Goodbye, Columbus” and “The Shining.” Good Globe readers remind me that his name also pops up in Leslie Nielsen’s “Police Squad!” series and, of course, “The Simpsons.”

▪ Red Sox shortstop prospect Jeter Downs has a remote connection to Bruins royalty. Downs is named for Derek Jeter, whose full name is Derek Sanderson Jeter. The Yankee legend got his middle name from his dad, Sanderson Charles Jeter.

▪ Dikembe Mutombo has a cameo in “Coming 2 America.” Mutombo is not bad, but he’s no Gary Tanguay.

▪ Holy Cross took down the retired-number banners for Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, Togo Palazzi, and Ronnie Perry (among others) from the Hart Center ceiling because the banners were old and featured the “Crusader” mascot that has been deemed offensive and inappropriate. Fear not, HC fans. The banners have been replaced with shiny new ones. “And they are beautiful,” says Holy Cross athletic director Marcus Blossom.

▪ Class move for Julian Edelman to reach out to the Heat’s Meyers Leonard after Leonard uttered an anti-Semitic slur on a livestream service last week. “Let’s do a Shabbat dinner with some friends,” Edelman offered.

▪ It doesn’t get much dumber than the Mets working on their World Series celebration on a field in Port St. Lucie in March. The Mets ran a defensive drill this past Wednesday that ended with right fielder Michael Conforto making a dramatic phantom catch for an imaginary final out of the World Series, triggering a full-blown celebration. Players tossed their gloves in the air and jumped into one another’s arms just like the Mets did when Jesse Orosco struck out Marty Barrett at Shea Stadium in 1986.

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▪ Color me amazed at the fawning coverage of Tiger Woods in the wake of him crashing his car in California a couple of weeks ago. We all hope Woods has a full recovery, but the absence of standard reporting vigilance and driver accountability after this crash is stunning.

▪ After the Red Sox make us go through the cost and inconvenience of hunting for NESN (because they can’t get along with YouTube TV), the least they could do is put more spring training games on TV. What a horrible way to market a team that needs fans.

▪ Quiz answer: Former Red Sox reliever Paul Quantrill pitched in 841 big league games. Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins, another Canadian who pitched for Boston, pitched in 664 games, winning 284.


Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at daniel.shaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.