Newton to miss time after traveling to medical appointment

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots say quarterback Cam Newton will miss at least three days of practice this week after traveling to a team-approved, out of town medical appointment over the weekend.

The team said in a statement Monday that Newton went to the appointment Saturday and tested negative each day for COVID-19.

But due to a “misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities” that is required by NFL and NFLPA protocols, he has been subjected to a five-day, re-entry cadence before he can return to the Patriots' team facilities. The earliest he is eligible to return is Thursday.

The statement said Newton will continue participating in team activities virtually while he is being held out of practices.

According to the NFL's COVID-19 protocols that were most recently updated on July 27, only unvaccinated players are subject to the five-day re-entry cadence that requires daily testing. Fully vaccinated players are required to test once every 14 days.

Asked earlier this month whether he has been vaccinated for COVID-19, Newton declined to answer.

“I think it’s too personal for each and every person to kind of discuss it, and I’ll just keep it at that,” he said.

Newton missed a game early last season after a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Monday marked the first practice absence this preseason for Newton, who is in his second season in New England after being signed prior to last season following Tom Brady's departure to Tampa Bay.

Newton struggled in limited action in the Patriots' first preseason game, but shined in their second exhibition matchup at Philadelphia last week, passing for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 35-0 win. He is trying to keep his starting job this season after New England used its first-round pick on Alabama quarterback Mac Jones.

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Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press

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