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In his first extended comments since the New England Patriots released him last week, Cam Newton offered his thoughts on the decision and why it happened.
Primarily, Newton thinks, coach Bill Belichick and Co. realized Newton would have been a distraction for the team and rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who the Patriots selected 15th overall in the draft this year.
"Indirectly, I was going to be a distraction without being the starter. Just my aura. ... That's my gift and my curse," Newton said in a conversation with his father Cecil.
Newton declared that had the Patriots made him the backup, he would have dutifully filled the role.
"Let me be honest with you. If they would have asked me (to be the backup), I would have said absolutely," Newton said, much to his father's disappointment.
"The truth of the matter is this. (Jones) would have been uncomfortable," Newton said.
"You're an intimidating presence," Cecil said.
"That is true," Cam replied.
Newton also conceded the point that his time spent away from the team during training camp — a five day stretch to see an ankle doctor in Atlanta — played a role in the decision, but wasn't a deciding factor. Due to his unvaccinated status, Newton had to endure a waiting period — which Belichick called a "misunderstanding" — before rejoining the team under league COVID-19 protocols.
"Do I think this would have happened without me being away from the team for 5 days? Honestly yes, it was going to happen," Newton said. "Did it help ease the decision? Yes."
Newton had teased the "Funky Friday" video earlier this week with an Instagram message saying he had a lot of football left in him.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL QB Cam Newton on why Patriots cut him: 'Going to be a distraction'