BOSTON (CBS) — As the Patriots started their final week of preseason practice, the team was without its starting quarterback. Cam Newton was not present when New England began practice Monday morning.
Newton will be away from the team until Thursday after he traveled to a club-approved medical appointment outside of the New England area over the weekend. There was a “misunderstanding” with the testing that was conducted away from New England’s facilities, so now Newton will have to practice virtually before returning to the team on Thursday.
The Patriots released the following statement on the situation Monday morning:
“On Saturday, Cam Newton traveled to a Club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area. He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility. Cam will continue participating virtually in team activities and return to the club facility on Thursday, August 26.”
The Patriots will hold joint practices with the New York Giants in Foxboro on Wednesday and Thursday, before the two teams play in their final preseason game Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Newton has started both of New England’s preseason games, and likely earned the Week 1 starter job with a stellar performance against the Eagles last Thursday. But he’ll now miss three days of practice, including a joint session with the Giants, which will give Mac Jones a great opportunity to log plenty of time with the top team.
The situation also confirms that Newton is not vaccinated against COVID-19, as only unvaccinated players are subject to travel restrictions. He is also subject to daily testing.
The NFL only allows for testing done by BioReference, and if BioReference isn’t available, the league would arrange for a third-party collection/testing process. It remains unclear where the misunderstanding came from with Newton, but it’s now going to cost him a few days of practice ahead of New England’s final tune-up before the regular season.