BOSTON (CBS) — Last week, Cam Newton had the unwavering respect of the opposing quarterback. This week, the bond is even closer.

With the Patriots traveling to Houston to face the Texans, Newton will be able to catch up with Deshaun Watson. Though Watson is now a certified superstar in his own right, he’ll be matched up against a man he truly looks up to this weekend.

“Cam is a big brother to me. A mentor. I wouldn’t even say mentor. Just brother. Just life experiences, life advice, football advice. He’s just always been there for me since I was in high school,” Watson told reporters this week. “So me and him have a great relationship.”

Much like current teammate Jakobi Meyers, Watson first connected with Newton when he was in high school. Watson played his high school ball at Gainesville High School in Georgia, about an hour outside of Newton’s hometown of Atlanta. Watson was invited to play in Newton’s 7-on-7 high school tournament, and the two have remained close ever since.

“Another person who got swag, sauce, goo, drip, whatever you wanna call it,” Newton said of Watson three years ago. “Just an Atlanta thing or Georgia thing, if you wanna say it, man. Just trying to bring the fun to the football game. And this sport is already hard for what it’s worth, and anytime we can put a smile or shine light on something outside the physicality of it, you know I’m all for it.”

Newton added: “I’ve seen Deshaun grow up. For him to be involved with my foundation early on and to see him grow up over the years and just his maturation as a football player, man, it’s just unbelievable.”

Certainly, Watson’s grown exponentially since Newton said those words in 2017. He’s completed 67.9 percent of his passes since 2018, throwing 70 touchdowns with 26 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 1,197 yards and 13 touchdowns, leading the Texans to the playoffs in 2018 and 2019.

While both QBs will be trying to win on Sunday, Watson took a moment to appreciate how special it will be to share a field with Cam on Sunday.

“We’ve always supported each other. He’s a guy that I based my game, especially at a young age, around what he did,” Watson said. “So I mean, he’s just always been my favorite quarterback. It’s a cool opportunity for us to go against each other too.”


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