BOSTON (CBS) — On Monday morning, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he wasn’t quite ready to name his team’s starting quarterback. A couple of hours later, the presumed starter wasn’t on the practice field.

Cam Newton was not present when the Patriots hit the practice field outside Gillette Stadium. Given Newton’s famous dance routines during stretching periods, his absence was instantly notable.

Shortly after Newton’s absence was noted, reporters got to work on discovering why. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe discovered that it was an excused absence for Newton.

What that means, exactly, remains anyone’s guess. But from the sounds of it, it does not appear to be an injury.

Newton was one of many Patriots to be absent from Monday’s practice session.

The Patriots are set to open their season on Sept. 13. The team entered into regular-season practice mode on Monday, meaning only the opening portion of practice is open to the media.

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