BOSTON (CBS) — In the late spring and early summer of 2020, the New England Patriots badly needed a quarterback. Cam Newton also badly needed a job. The two scenarios aligned, and though the end result of a 7-9 season wasn’t how either side envisioned that relationship going, the situation itself was nevertheless beneficial for both parties.

This past offseason, both parties appeared to be in the same place. That was, until the Patriots patiently waited on draft night before selecting Mac Jones at No. 15 overall. His rapid growth and assimilation into the Patriots’ system ultimately led to Bill Belichick releasing Newton on cut-down day last week.

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And since making that move of outright releasing the man who started 15 games at QB last year, Belichick hadn’t said anything directly about Newton until Tuesday morning.

In an interview with WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show, Belichick again spoke generally about releasing players before finally mentioning Newton by name.

“I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam,” Belichick said. “He came in here, he worked hard, he gave us everything he had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac at quarterback, and so that’s where we’re going to go.”

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Prior to that, Belichick spoke about the difficulty of making the final decisions to trim the roster to 53 players.

“Yeah well it’s always difficult when you have to reduce your roster. There’s a lot of guys that worked hard, lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us or good years, and I respect all those things, but each year is its own year and I have to do what I feel is best for the football team,” Belichick said. “And so with regard to every decision, that’s what I try to do. But it’s always tough to tell guys that have worked hard and given you all that they have that you’re not able to keep ’em.”

As to whether or not Belichick considered keeping Newton on the roster as a backup to Jones, the head coach leaned upon his “what’s best for the football team” mantra.

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“Yeah, you know, there’s always options and a lot of different things that you can use, especially at this time of year with so many players available before they all hit the practice squad,” Belichick said. “But yeah, I think in the end, we did what we felt was best.”

CBSBoston.com Staff