BOSTON (CBS) — On Sunday morning, it was reported — or apparently, discussed — on ESPN that the Patriots and Cam Newton would be parting ways at the conclusion of the 2020 season.

Now that the 2020 season has concluded for the Patriots, Bill Belichick is refuting that report.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter got it all started on Sunday NFL Countdown, making it sound pretty clear that Newton and the Patriots would not be continuing their relationship after this season.

“Both sides expect that it will take them to a different place and a different direction in 2021 with Cam Newton likely moving on and the Patriots in search of a new quarterback for next season,” said Schefter.

The story was obviously picked up by just about everyone, considering the gravity of the news. But after Sunday’s 28-14 win over the Jets, in which Newton threw for three touchdowns, the Patriots head coach sounded a little miffed about said report.

Here’s the exchange from Belichick’s postgame press conference:

Reporter: There was a report on ESPN today that there’s an understanding between you and Cam Newton that you’ll be going in different directions this offseason. Is there an understanding that this was Cam’s final game?

Belichick: Is that another one of your anonymous reports?

Reporter: That was from Adam Schefter this morning.

Belichick: Yeah, I don’t think that’s what Adam said. You should talk to Adam about that then.

Reporter: Thanks.

Belichick: Great question. Thank you.

Yikes. During the press conference, Schefter reached out to his ESPN colleague, Mike Reiss, who relayed to Belichick that Schefter didn’t mean for his words to be taken as a report — just an overall discussion on Sunday’s show.

Schefter’s words certainly sounded like a report though, which caused a pretty big stir leading up to Sunday’s regular season finale in New England.

Like his head coach, Newton didn’t shed much light onto his future plans after Sunday’s game.

“Listen, I have my desires. I know where my heart’s at,” said Newton. “But as far as that, I can’t really speak on it right now. But just my whole time here in New England has been a blessing. I’ve learned so much about myself, about great teammates, unbelievable coaching.

“So I’ll just see how it goes and go from there,” he added.

The Patriots finished the regular season 7-9, out of the playoff picture for the first time since 2008. Newton struggled mightily in the passing game, throwing just eight touchdowns (three of which came on Sunday) with 10 interceptions, and was never able to get in a rhythm with his receivers. The QB didn’t look like the Cam Newton of old, though he did have loads of success on the ground with 12 rushing touchdowns and nearly 600 rushing yards.

“I need to get better. That’s what it all comes down to,” Newton said after Sunday’s win.

Time will tell if he gets that opportunity in New England.

CBSBoston.com Staff