Bill Belichick Praises Patriots' Cam Newton: 'Nobody Works Harder'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up before an NFL football training camp scrimmage, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, Pool)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick offered high praise for his new quarterback Cam Newton on Monday, calling him an "extremely hard worker." 

Belichick made the comments during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio:

SiriusXM NFL Radio @SiriusXMNFL

"Nobody works harder than @CameronNewton." Needless to say, @Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been pleased with his new quarterback. #GoPats | #PatsCamp https://t.co/f00oXOOHoS

"Nobody works harder than Cam does," Belichick said. "He's here early, he stays late and he works very hard. You know, some players like to work on things that they're good at—like if you're strong on a bench press, then you just keep throwing more weight on the bench—but Cam's the type of player that works on things that he's not as good at and really tries to improve on a daily basis, and that's something that I really respect about him."

Belichick also praised Newton's personality and competitive nature:

"He's got a great personality. He gets along with everybody. He's very social and has a great presence, whether it's in a small room of a couple people or in a bigger group. And he's highly competitive. He's very, very competitive on the field. ... Everybody's competitive, but I think there are different degrees of it, and based on what I've seen I would put him in the top echelon of that."

His remarks came on the same day that Newton reportedly had an excused day at practice:

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Update: Cam Newton has an excused absence from practice this morning, per a source. https://t.co/MPQLiToeYj

Ben Volin @BenVolin

To further demonstrate Belichick’s mastery of the media, today is a perfect example of why he does press conferences before practice. There was no whiff this morning that Cam Newton wouldn’t be at Patriots practice. Now Belichick can’t be asked about it until Wednesday morning

Newton, 31, signed a $1.7 million contract with the Patriots this offseason after long-time quarterback Tom Brady departed in free agency and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The three-time Pro Bowler and 2015 MVP appeared in just two games for the Carolina Panthers last season due to a Lisfranc injury, throwing for 572 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. 

He played 14 games in 2018, throwing for 3,395 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing 488 yards and another four scores. But injury issues in recent years have called into question how much Newton has left in the tank and if he'll ever return to superstar form. 

The Patriots took a pretty risk-free gamble this offseason that Newton has more good football ahead of him, with all expectations that he'll win the starting job this year over Jarrett Stidham. Thus far, Belichick appears to be a believer, at least publicly.