BOSTON (CBS) — Now that New England’s Week 5 game with the Denver Broncos has been pushed back a day to Monday, many are wondering if there’s a chance that quarterback Cam Newton could be cleared to play for the Patriots.
Yes, there is a chance. The game moving to Monday does help Newton and the Patriots, but it’s a bit complicated, as it should be for a player who recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Newton tested positive on Oct. 2, and the Patriots are now playing the Broncos 10 days later on Oct. 12. That does indeed open the door for a possible Newton return.
Newton has reportedly been asymptomatic since testing positive, which is good news for him and the Patriots. Here are the NFL’s guidelines for an asymptomatic player returning:
- 10 days have passed since the initial positive test OR
- Five days have passed since the initial positive test and the player receives two consecutive negative PCR virus tests at least 24 hours apart
Ultimately, a player must also be cleared by a team physician after consultation with medical experts in order to return. That is the final hurdle for a return to action for anyone.
Unfortunately, we haven’t received any word on whether Newton has received any negative tests since his positive test last week. But, even if Newton had positive tests this week, as long as he remained asymptomatic throughout he could still return on Monday since 10 days have passed since his initial positive test.
So, yes, we’re telling you there’s a chance that Newton suits up against the Broncos on Monday night.
But even if he is cleared, the team will have to determine if they want to play Newton in a game after a nearly two-week break from action. It’s possible that if Newton passes two tests by Saturday, he could take the field for the team’s only practice of the week. A return to practice would certainly improve his chances at returning to game-action on Monday. It is still no guarantee, but even a rusty Newton may be a better option for the Patriots and rolling with Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham.
The Patriots, luckily, will go on their bye week after Monday’s game, which would give Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (who tested positive in Tuesday night’s round of testing) more time to recover, and the team a better chance to get their COVID situation under control.