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Cam Newton, rightfully so, was thrown off by a temporary absence stemming from a COVID-19 protocol “misunderstanding.”
Ahead of the New England Patriots’ third preseason game, the 32-year-old took an approved trip to Atlanta for medical reasons. Following the trip, he was subject to a five-day entry cadence process that sidelined him during valuable practice time. The Patriots released a statement on the situation and there was talk surrounding the idea that Newton was being irresponsible.
“On Saturday, Cam Newton traveled to a club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area,” the statement read. “He received daily COVID tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility. Cam will continue participating virtually in team activities and return to the club facility on Thursday, August 26.”
During a 43-minute tell-all video following his release, Newton discussed the situation and said he was “bamboozled” by it.
“I crossed all the lines. I checked all the boxes,” Newton said. “I dotted all my I’s and then to find out that I had to sit out, that’s when I kind of felt bamboozled because I’m like, ‘Y’all told me to go.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Cam, you know if you go you’re taking your own risk now.’ It was not that.”
Belichick was asked about the situation on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning and didn’t have much to say about it.
“I think we’ve already covered all that,” Belichick said.
“Look, I have nothing but respect for Cam and everything he did here. We said that after he was released. My feelings towards Cam have not changed.”
Newton even admitted that the Patriots were going to release him regardless of the “misunderstanding”. But, there was a lack of transparency that threw him off guard — and it didn’t appear to be settled when he returned to the facilities.