BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been almost a full week since the Patriots announced Cam Newton’s forced absence from the team due to a violation of the NFL’s COVID protocols on Monday morning. Newton has yet to speak publicly about what happened.
Despite starting at quarterback in the Patriots’ preseason finale on Sunday evening, Newton did not step to the podium for a postgame press conference after the 22-20 New England win over the Giants.
Newton had spoken after the Patriots’ first two preseason games, while rookie Mac Jones did not. On Sunday, though, Jones gave his first postgame press conference of the preseason.
Newton returned to work on Thursday, participating in the team’s joint practice session with the New York Giants, but he didn’t speak to the media after practice. Fellow QBs Jones and Brian Hoyer did speak to the media that day.
Despite requests, the #Patriots did not make Cam Newton available to reporters after his start tonight or after practices Thursday and Friday.
— Andrew Callahan (@_AndrewCallahan) August 30, 2021
Newton was forced to miss five days of work last week after traveling away from New England for a “club-approved medical appointment.” During that time, he underwent COVID-19 testing, but not NFL-approved testing. As such, the NFL protocols required him to undergo NFL-approved testing for five days while staying away from the team facility.
In that absence, Newton missed three practices, including the first of two joint practice sessions with the Giants.
The travel restrictions and daily requirements only apply to players who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Newton had one of his best performances as a Patriot prior to that absence, completing eight of his nine passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in Philadelphia last week. On Sunday against the Giants, it was a bit of a step back, as Newton was 2-for-5 for 10 yards with an interception.
Head coach Bill Belichick did not state after the game which quarterback will be his starter in Week 1. Yet based on his usage of Newton in practice on Thursday and in the game on Sunday, Newton did not appear to lose his spot on the depth chart due to his absence.