Cam Newton is like a kid on Christmas Eve this week.
Can you blame him? Newton, the 2015 league MVP, has been away from the game for nearly a year. Sunday is his first game action since Week 2 of 2019. Simply, it's go time, and it's long overdue.
"Excitement level is on 1,000," Newton said Thursday. "I'm excited, happy. Just to get back into the rhythm of game week -- the preparation, the little nuggets that you can often forget.
"You have to remember, I've been away from football, really, for a full year. I haven't really had this whole process for a long time now, so being around, taking notes, watching film, finding out about different players each and every day, locking in. [I'm] excited about the game plan and more excited about just trying to get in a routine with the newness of the playcalling, the coaches and even the players."
Newton's offseason consisted of waiting until June before he knew who he'd be playing for in 2020. Then he had to learn a new offense and acclimate to a new organization, one steeped in winning tradition. He's not exactly suiting up for the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend.
He is replacing a quarterback who left for the Buccaneers, though, and he'll get his first shot to prove he is worthy of such a challenge when Newton's Patriots -- yes, it's still strange to write -- host the Miami Dolphins.
"It's an ongoing process to feel comfortable in this offense," Newton said. "For me, it's about executing and playing at a level that's premium and setting that bar, as people would say, the 'Patriot Way.'
"There's no denying it. There's no getting around it. The standard is already set. We see it every single day from the great coaches and great players who are playing here now. So we don't need no added incentive to want to go out there and do our job. It's a prerequisite. It's something you've just got to do."
Is he nervous?
"I don't get butterflies," Newton joked to reporters Thursday. "I give 'em."
We'll see how many Newton is handing out this weekend.