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Former New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton wants back into the NFL. After months of wavering, Newton reportedly received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Newton was surprisingly released by the Patriots shortly after that miscommunication. The team handed the starting job to rookie Mac Jones, who has led the Patriots to a 2-3 record. Head coach Bill Belichick said Newton's vaccination status did not play a role in the team's decision to release him.
Newton's vaccination status may not have mattered with the Patriots, but it may affect whether other NFL teams are willing to bring him in. The NFL put COVID-19 protocols in place that strongly encourage players to get vaccinated. Unvaccinated players can't be around teammates as much, have to jump through more testing hoops and can be fined a significant amount for breaking those rules.
With those restrictions no longer an issue, Newton might get more calls from NFL teams.
Will Cam Newton return to the NFL?
Newton is a three-time Pro Bowler who has made an All-Pro team and won an MVP award during his career. He's put up some eye-popping numbers over his 10 seasons in the NFL, and that should attract teams looking for quarterback help.
Now that he's vaccinated, teams will focus on whether Newton can still approach his former numbers. He wasn't a great passer for the Patriots last season, when he threw just eight touchdowns against 10 interceptions in 15 games. Newton was still an effective runner, scoring 12 rushing touchdowns for the Patriots.
Newton's diminished passing numbers could be the result of a devastating shoulder injury Newton sustained in 2016. Newton claimed he was fully recovered from that injury prior to last season, however.
If Newton's shoulder has recovered, it's possible he can still carve out a solid second act with another NFL team. If not, Newton has plenty of knowledge and could stick around the league as a backup if he's willing to mentor younger players.