New­ton dis­cusses chal­lenges and new op­por­tu­ni­ties

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - Tom Schad

Cam New­ton de­scribed it as “the ele­phant in the room.” In his first pub­lic com­ments about po­ten­tially re­plac­ing Tom Brady as start­ing quar­ter­back of the Pa­tri­ots, he said in a YouTube video posted Mon­day that Brady is “great” but he also sees his ar­rival in New Eng­land as an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand the team’s of­fense in some ways. “(Peo­ple were) like, ‘You know who (you’re) com­ing af­ter?’ ” New­ton said dur­ing the round-table dis­cus­sion with cur­rent NFL play­ers Odell Beck­ham Jr. and Todd Gur­ley and for­mer NFL player Vic­tor Cruz. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, great. What he was – what he is – is great. Needs no even talk­ing about it.’ “But one thing about it, though: Coach (Josh) Mc­Daniels, you’re able to call some stuff that you ain’t ever been able to call now. You’re get­ting a dog. You’re get­ting one of these ticked-off dogs, too. And I’m look­ing at the sched­ule and I’m like, ‘Who (are) we play­ing? That team passed on me! OK, that team passed on me. They could’ve came and got me.’ ” New­ton has yet to hold a vir­tual in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence since join­ing the Pa­tri­ots. His com­ments came amid a wide-rang­ing, hour-long con­ver­sa­tion about racial in­jus­tice, COVID-19, off­sea­son train­ing and mo­ti­va­tion, among other top­ics. The 31-year-old, who signed a oneyear deal with the Pa­tri­ots late last month, spoke at length about his time with the Pan­thers and his ex­pe­ri­ence as a free agent this spring. For three months, he said, he watched with frus­tra­tion as other teams signed older and more in­juryprone quar­ter­backs over him. “I’ll be the first per­son to tell you: These last two years, I haven’t been putting the best film on tape. That’s just hon­est,” New­ton said. “But at the same time, I’m like OK, there’s other peo­ple that’s been putting (ex­ple­tive) film out there that’s get­ting picked up. “Like, I’m feel­ing dis­re­spected.” New­ton re­called that when his agent first told him about New Eng­land’s interest, his first re­ac­tion was to won­der: “How (are) me and (Bill) Belichick go­ing to mesh?” But he said that his ini­tial re­ac­tion was sim­ply wrapped up in his per­cep­tion of the coach. Sev­eral min­utes later, the con­ver­sa­tion shifted to New­ton’s time in Carolina and the be­lief that he was “pushed out” be­cause he wasn’t healthy. “Now I’m go­ing to an­other sit­u­a­tion where I get coached by ar­guably the best coach,” New­ton said. “It’s like if we were play­ing spades, it’s like, ‘Bro, you give me your hand, and you get my hand, and let’s see what you’ll do with it.’ ”

JEREMY BRE­VARD/USA TODAY SPORTS

Cam New­ton joins the Pa­tri­ots af­ter nine sea­sons with the Pan­thers.

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