By Staff

FOXBORO (CBS) — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was not very interested in expanding on the team’s statement regarding Cam Newton’s current absence from the team. In Belichick’s words, “it is what it is.”

Newton has to stay away from the team until Thursday after he traveled over the weekend and did not receive a COVID-19 test from an NFL-approved testing site. There was a “misunderstanding” somewhere between the player, the team and the NFL rules, and now Newton has to miss an incredibly important part of training camp and the preseason. The situation confirms that Newton is not fully vaccinated, as players who have been vaccinated have no travel restrictions.

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“I don’t have anything to add to the statement,” Belichick replied whenever he was peppered with questions about Newton. “It is what it is.”

“Every team has got the same situation,” he added when asked if Newton’s absence puts the team at a disadvantage. Belichick also sidestepped when asked if Newton’s situation was avoidable.

Newton was the presumed starter at quarterback after his solid performance against the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday, but his extended absence this week now opens the door for rookie Mac Jones to close the gap in the QB competition.

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With the New York Giants coming to town for a pair of joint practices, and Newton set to miss the first of those sessions, Belichick was asked if this was a big opportunity for Jones. The head coach once again needed very few words to illustrate the situation.

“It is,” he replied.

Belichick also wouldn’t say if the plan is to play Newton in Sunday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants. Whether or not Newton’s situation will factor into his decision-making in the QB competition, Belichick also didn’t have much to say.

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“We’ll evaluate everything the way we always do: based on the information we have,” he said. Staff