By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Cam Newton hasn’t played a football game since last September. He’s with a new team, he’s replacing Tom Brady, and he’s on a team that enters every year with the highest expectations of all.
One could imagine that the 31-year-old might be feeling some butterflies in his stomach as the hours and minutes tick down until Sunday at 1 p.m. Yet Newton let it be known on Thursday afternoon that he will not be feeling any such feeling in the days and hours leading up to kickoff.
“I don’t get butterflies,” Newton declared. “I give ’em.”
The quarterback then laughed and said it was a joke … but quarterback was not short on confidence during his 20-plus-minute session with the media.
While he may not be feeling butterflies, he’s certainly feeling excited.
“Excitement level is on a thousand,” Newton said. “Excited and happy just to just to get back into the rhythm of game week, the preparation, just the a little nuggets that you can often forget.”
Newton pointed out how he only played two games in the 2019 season and missed the end of the 2018 season, so the game-week rhythm is something he’s greatly been enjoying thus far.
“So, you know, being around, taking notes, watching film, finding out about different players each and every day, locking in, you know, excited about the game plan and more excited about, you know, just trying to get in a routine with, you know, the newness of either the play calling, the coaches and the players.”
As far as his comfort level goes, Newton rejected a question that it’s all feeling like “second nature” to him.
“I will say it’s a ongoing process to feel comfortable in this offense. And you know, for me, it’s not about this. It’s not about that. It’s just about executing and playing at a level that’s premium, and setting that bar to, as people would say, the Patriot way. And there’s no denying that there is no debating it, there is no you know getting around it — the standard is already set. We see it every single day from from the great coaches and great players that’s playing here now. So, we don’t need no added incentive to to want to go out there and do our job that’s just, it’s just, you know, a prerequisite. You know, something that you just got to do.”
Newton has been outspoken about how painful it was to have no job through June, but he said Thursday that he’s in a great place mentally as he enters his 10th NFL season.
“It was just a part of the chapter. I think right now where I’m at, I’m in a happy place. I feel motivated. I feel, just a lot of great emotions that’s going on that’s not hindering me from becoming my best self,” Newton said. “And yet through it all, I just like it most that I’m just a piece to a puzzle. You know, I don’t want to be the puzzle. I try my best daily to prove my worth to this team and understand that there’s a lot of guys here that are depending on each other. And I just want to be a person that the team and these coaches can trust and depend upon.”