FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Cam Newton is officially the new starting quarterback of the New England Patriots.
A person familiar with the situation said Thursday that Newton was announced as the starter during a team meeting. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not publicly announced the decision.
The Boston Globe first reported the decision.
The move was expected after the 2015 league MVP outperformed second-year Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer during training camp. Newton, who signed with the Patriots in July after being released by Carolina, succeeds Tom Brady following his departure to Tampa Bay in free agency.
Newton was also announced as one of eight team captains, along with special teamer Matt Slater, center David Andrews, running back James White, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, defensive lineman Lawrence Guy, safety Devin McCourty and cornerback Jason McCourty.
“I will not and do not take this opportunity for granted!’ Newton wrote in a post on Instagram along with the captains’ announcement. ”I’m so grateful for this organization, my teammates and this city. Thank You! No need to look back now.”
The Patriots open the season Sept. 13 at home against Miami.
Coach Bill Belichick has been mostly mum throughout camp about which way he was leaning for the starting job at quarterback. But In an interview on SiriusXM Radio on Monday he praised Newton’s work ethic and the amount of improvement he’s shown over the past month.
“He’s very, very competitive on the field. He always wants to do his best and do better than the guys he’s competing against,” Belichick said. “Everybody’s competitive, but I think there’s different degrees of it. … Based on what I’ve seen I would put him in the top echelon of that.”
The biggest questions about Newton entering camp surrounded his health. He appeared in only two games for the Panthers last season before being placed on injured reserve with a broken bone in his foot, which required surgery. He also had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder before the 2019 season.
He’s shown no signs of either bothering him during camp and has consistently been the most accurate passer in practice.
He said last week that he felt like he was making headway in the process of jelling with his new teammates as well as cleaning up perceptions that people might have previously held about him.
“There’s been some things that a lot of people may have not known about me prior to (joining the Patriots),” Newton said. “I just want to make sure that — for me and my worth to this team — that I’m as accessible to this team as I can possibly be. … Whatever coach needs me to be, whatever the players expect me to be and whenever I expect me to be, I’m willing to do that and go over and beyond for that.”
NOTES: The Patriots officially announced the release of receiver Mohamed Sanu, along with defensive lineman Michael Barnett and cornerback Michael Jackson.
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