Patriots' Cam Newton Out 5 Days Due to 'Misunderstanding' About COVID Tests Conducted

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 19: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New England Patriots announced quarterback Cam Newton will be away from the team for five days after a "misunderstanding" about COVID-19 testing while traveling for a medical appointment.

Here's the full statement released Monday by the Pats:

"On Saturday, Cam Newton traveled to a club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area. He received daily COVID tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility. Cam will continue participating virtually in team activities and return to the club facility on Thursday, August 26."

Newton played in Thursday's 35-0 preseason blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed eight of his nine pass attempts for 103 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

New England didn't provide any further information about Newton's medical checkup.

The 32-year-old Auburn product underwent shoulder surgery in January 2019 and played in just two games during the 2019 season because of a foot injury.

Newton only missed one contest during his first year with the Pats, a Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19, but he didn't look like the same dynamic player who won the 2015 NFL MVP Award while with the Carolina Panthers. He ranked 30th in ESPN's Total QBR in 2020.

While the Georgia native missed time during this year's OTAs because of a minor hand injury, he's otherwise looked closer to full strength throughout training camp and the preseason.

Newton has been part of a competition with rookie Mac Jones, the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft who led Alabama to a national title last season, throughout camp, but head coach Bill Belichick said the three-time Pro Bowl selection has an incumbent's advantage.

"The fact that Cam started last year and he's here—somebody would have to play better than him. Training camp is all about competition," Belichick said Monday on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show (via ESPN's Mike Reiss).

Since Newton is scheduled to return Thursday, he'll remain an option to play in Sunday's preseason finale against the New York Giants. It's unclear how much playing time, if any, the Pats' starters are going to see in the last exhibition contest, though.

The Patriots kick off the regular season Sept. 12 when they host the AFC East-rival Miami Dolphins.