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Cam Newton on being released by Patriots: 'I was going to be a distraction'

Funky Friday indeed.

The former NFL MVP said his release caught him by surprise but added he believes he'd have been cut regardless of whether he missed five days during training camp due to COVID-19 protocols.

"Do I think this would have happened without me being away from the team for five days? Honestly, yes, it was going to happen," he said. "Did it help ease the decision? Yes."

Newton missed five days during camp after what the team called a "miscommunication" on protocol. The quarterback has a different perspective on said miscommunication.

"They gave me clearance to go," Newton said. "So, I don't want nobody to think that I just went up (and left) -- like, I'm owed a second opinion. That's just a fact. The trip was necessary because this was the last time I felt that I was going to have an opportunity to get a second opinion. Not to say that the personnel with the Patriots wasn't coherent to telling me everything I needed to know. But having four eyes on it is having better than two eyes, in my opinion. It wasn't that I was having any issues or pain. I just wanted to do a checkup with the person who, in essence, diagnosed me with the Lisfranc (injury). I felt obligated to check back with him with a sixth-month review...just check it out.

"I crossed all the lines. I checked all the boxes. I dotted my i's. And then to find out that I had to sit out? And that's when I kind of felt bamboozled because y'all told me to go. It wasn't like, 'Cam, you know if you go, you're taking it up on your own risk now.' It was not that."

When asked if he'd have gone to the checkup if the Patriots told him he might have to miss five days, Newton responded, "absolutely not."

While the missed time appeared to provide momentum Mac Jones needed to take the lead in the battle for the Pats QB1 job, Newton believes it was much earlier in the process that the club signaled they were moving towards starting the rookie.

"When I look back at it, I was probably getting two reps to his ten reps, and that's why it was starting to make sense," he said. "Even though I was starting, that doesn't necessarily mean nothing, and I think that's where they did a good job disguising it. 'Cam took team reps today.' But they didn't know the practice structure."

Newton said that while he was surprised by his release, he understands why the Patriots didn't want to keep him around.

"Can we be honest? The reason why they released me is because indirectly, I was going to be a distraction, without being the starter," he said. "Just my aura. That's my gift and my curse. When you bring Cam Newton to your facility, your franchise, people are interested..."

Newton said he was not given a chance to be the backup in New England this season.

"If they would have asked me, 'Would I play behind (Jones)? They say, 'Cam, we're going to give the team to Mac, you're going to be second-string. We expect you to be everything and then some to guide him throughout this tenure' I would have said 'absolutely.'" Newton said. "But listen, the truth of the matter is this: He would have been uncomfortable. And they knew. And it comes by the mere fact of me being me."

Newton reiterated that he doesn't believe there are 32 quarterbacks better than himself but stopped short of indicating that clubs have reached out at this stage.

As for his opinion of Jones, the former MVP believes the rookie can win in the NFL.

"He did what he came to do. He proved that he can be productive, and he will be productive," Newton said.

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