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Cam Newton will be out until Thursday due to a "misunderstanding" about COVID-19 testing protocols, the New England Patriots announced on Monday.
Newton went to a team-approved doctor's appointment over the weekend that required him to travel outside of New England, and even though he tested negative every day, a misunderstanding — possibly surrounding approved testing sites or methods — caused him to violate the NFL-NFLPA protocols.
We don't know what the misunderstanding was with Newton, as the NFL-NFLPA protocols have numerous rules regarding testing locations, specimen collection and test types. However, only unvaccinated players are required to be tested for COVID-19 every day. If a day of NFL-approved testing is missed, players are subject to "re-entry" testing, which means players are not allowed inside the team facility until they have five straight days of negative tests. Newton has declined to say whether he's vaccinated.
Newton's absence could give Mac Jones a shot to earn starting job
Head coach Bill Belichick has yet to name a starting quarterback for the Pats' Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins. Both Newton and rookie QB Mac Jones have looked good in the preseason so far, and even though Newton's veteran status gives him an edge for the job, head coach Bill Belichick has said that he would consider a Newton-Jones quarterback platoon.
That alone says a lot about how much Jones has impressed Belichick. But with Newton out, Jones will have 3-4 Newton-free days to take first team reps and give the staff an even better look at how he's progressed during training camp. That could make the competition between them even closer, and there's a chance that Jones could wow everyone enough to give himself an edge at the starting job.
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