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Cam Newton's vaccination status may have cost him his career
The Patriots created a surprising headline to close the preseason when they announced that they would be releasing starting quarterback Cam Newton and rolling with rookie Mac Jones as their starter moving forward. Jones had played well enough to make a claim for the starting job, but he had yet to actually start a game in the preseason prior to this move.
Newton’s release shows how razor thin the margins are going to be for unvaccinated players, whatever their reasons are for avoiding the vaccine. When Newton was asked if he was vaccinated prior to the start of camp, he said that the decision was “too personal” to discuss.
Unfortunately for Newton, he showed how easy it is for an unvaccinated player to miss chunks of practice time, and potentially missing games. Newton had to leave the Patriots to attend to a personal matter and there was a mix up with his testing schedule, forcing him to automatically miss five days of practice with the Patriots. With the Patriots expected to compete for a playoff spot this year, having a starting quarterback that is liable to miss time at any point in the season isn’t really practical, especially as the Delta variant continues to rip through the country.
Newton could have, in theory, stuck around as a backup, but if Jones were to get sick with a breakthrough case of coronavirus, Newton would likely be a close contact. That would leave the Patriots in a situation that was similar to what the Broncos went through last season when they had to start wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback for a game against the Saints.
No one wants to go through that again, especially Bill Belichick. So, they decided the best plan of action was just to release Newton. If he does decide to get the vaccine, he showed enough this preseason that a team might be interested.