Cam Newton: Joining Patriots 'just a breath of fresh air'

Cam Newton's redemption tour took a while to reach New England, but now that he's there, he's already taking the next steps toward future success.

The goal for the former NFL Most Valuable Player is to again produce victories -- but he's not doing it to please the public.

"I don't have to prove nothing, because at the end of the day, especially not to nobody," Newton said during his Friday press conference. "Now I have to prove it to myself, that's a daily challenge and I don't think nobody's expectations will ever surpass my expectations for myself. I'm just looking forward to the challenge and knowing and picking up this whole system, not only the philosophical way of the offense, but also how things are ran."

Newton's once-magical run with the Panthers came to a very unceremonious conclusion this offseason with his release after it became clear Carolina wouldn't be able to find a suitable trade partner. He sat on the open market for months while others received contracts, training to return fully healthy after missing the majority of the 2019 season due to injury and occupying his downtime by posting videos of such efforts to his YouTube page.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic didn't help much, either. Unable to travel to a team for a visit and physical, Newton was left to prepare his body while waiting. The call finally came from the Patriots -- the lone logical landing spot left -- in late June, and by early July, Newton was officially joining the team still stinging from the departure of Tom Brady.

Newton is tasked with two great challenges: Prove he can return to his MVP-level play (or something near that level), and do so while also becoming an adequate-or-better replacement for Brady in a market that is well-adjusted to perennial success.

"It's just a breath of fresh air to be honest with you," Newton said of his new environment and the attempt to replace Brady. "It's a challenge that I have to expect each and every day. But no challenge is ever gonna be greater than the challenge, a personal challenge, that I challenge myself personally. We all know what that was and what that is and it needs no mention.

"But at the same time for me, I think I got my hands full with trying to learn as much ... in a short period of time and that's what I'm trying to do, meeting with coaches day to day, getting assistance from Hoyster (QB Brian Hoyer), as well as Stiddy (QB Jarrett Stidham). You know, those guys have been unbelievable throughout this process, too."

Yes, there's the challenge of beating out a second-year signal-caller and a seasoned veteran for the starting job, too, but when Newton signed, most everyone knew the score. This is Newton's job to lose, and Newton's fan base to claim.

It's still on the coast, but it's far from the blue, silver and black of Charlotte. Instead of a mantra of "Keep Pounding," New England fans are only expecting one thing out of Newton's Patriots: Keep winning.

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