How QB Cam Newton thinks Patriots have been affected by COVID-19

Cam Newton isn’t trying to make excuses, but the Patriots quarterback didn’t understate how much he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic impacted his new team this season.
With restrictions in place to limit how much time players can spend together, Newton, who tested positive for COVID-19 early in the season, said there was something of a disconnect in relationships he was trying to build with his new teammates. And that’s something the 10th-year quarterback certainly isn’t accustomed to, as he explained in great detail Monday morning on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“I think my only regret about COVID is this: I’m a very social person. I’m a social peer. I’m a social teammate. I’m a social human being,” Newton said. “It’s one thing to know a person on the football side and I always use the analogy of COVID affected our team in a way to make a lot of us feel like associates or coworkers, rather than really feeling like a team at times. Hear me out when I say at times. Because for me, if this was not the case, obviously you can have guys over, you can really find out the personal side. …
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“We didn’t necessarily know that or find that out until going through certain situations. We didn’t have preseason, we didn’t have opportunities to kind of break bread. … Sometimes I think this year, it affected a lot of me because I didn’t necessarily know and it’s not an excuse, it’s more or less the reality of being in a situation where a lot of people were affected, and a lot of people were affected in a different way. If I had one thing that I would go back and change, I would have changed that, not really being able to connect with people early on because of the limitations that COVID presented.”
Newton clarified comments he made after Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins when he said, “We still got guys that just don’t get it.” The quarterback said he didn’t mean it in a negative way.
“Let me correct myself on that because we’re depending on a lot of people who are not used to, let’s just be honest, the pressures of being a New England Patriot player, and honestly, if I’m being honest and candid, I’m one of those players,” Newton said. “It took me until after probably like Week 5, ‘Like bro, this is different, you know what I’m saying?’ Not different in a way that’s bad, not different in a way that’s good, it’s just different in the way of responsibility.”
Newton later clarified that he meant the standard of being a Patriot, not pressure. But he said it all comes back to COVID in some sense as younger and newer players, including himself, were thrust into new roles and responsibilities without having an ability to meet together.
“A lot of it is affected by COVID,” Newton said. “You’re not able to kind of meet out of the facility with players, you’re not able to take your relationship to the next level and trust, so to speak, because of all the rules and regulations that COVID has hit us with, and you got guys that are kind of teaching themselves on the go and that’s what I mean.”

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