It was a much-celebrated start to the union between the New England Patriots and Cam Newton up until around Week 4 when Newton tested positive for COVID-19.
Newton missed a loss to the Chiefs and after returning in Week 6 following a bye struggled mightily. Newton's play, along with the Patriots' fortunes, has turned in recent weeks, but looking back on Thursday, he admitted to reporters that his return from the coronavirus left him feeling "stagnant," because he fell behind as he wasn't able to be around the team, much less able to practice or play.
"Ever since coming back from corona to be honest with you, I felt stagnant in my thought process," Newton said Thursday.
However, when NFL Network's Mike Giardi followed up by asking Newton if he subscribed to the "COVID fog" theory, Newton clarified that it was his inability to keep up with Josh McDaniels' offense that left him behind, not the virus.
"No, it's nothing to it," Newton said. "It's just the fact that I wasn't able to do anything for that stint while I was off and it showed. Coming back, pretty much dry and knowing that as this offense goes, it evolves.
"When I did come back, I just felt behind. The production here of late is nothing to blame more or less than me just taking ownership and responsibility that I just have to be better."
Newton and the Patriots have emerged from a four-game losing streak with consecutive wins and the longtime former Panthers standout has overcome some shoddy play with appreciable efforts in victories against the Jets and Ravens. In those two wins, Newton has four offensive touchdowns and perhaps most importantly, no turnovers. In the three previous losses, Newton had two touchdowns and a glaring six turnovers.
At the very least, the former NFL Most Valuable Player is stagnant no more.