- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN in 2009
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quarterback Cam Newton called his fit with the New England Patriots a “match made in heaven” as he prepares to lead the team in its season opener Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
“Honestly it’s been so overwhelming at times that I just haven’t been able to grasp it from a whole totality standpoint,” he said Monday morning on sports radio WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“I was in Carolina, and had given everything to that organization that I possibly can, and I will always have a place in my heart for Carolina. But as a professional, you go where you’re summoned to go, and what’s best for your career. Just as it will be what’s best for the organization. I’ve just been loving myself and loving this opportunity I’ve had, coming into this position.”
Last week, coach Bill Belichick told players that Newton would be the team’s starting quarterback. Newton was also voted one of eight captains by players and coaches.
Before signing with the Patriots on July 8, Newton acknowledged that he didn’t know what to expect when it came to how he’d fit in New England.
“The same questions that a lot of people, and talk shows, gossip talk, and barber-shop talk, and chitter-chatter text messages wanted to know, I wanted to know as well,” he said on the radio show. “Is it real what they say about Belichick? Is it going to be too … I didn’t know. I think, honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me, just knowing that I’m at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared toward winning.
“Coming from a person that has won at all levels, I feel as if I do the things the right way, trusting a lot of the same people that got me to this point, and trusting coaching, I think this is something that when you look at an opportunity in a timely manner it can be accomplished.”
Newton added that any perception he had of Belichick “changed the day I talked to him.”
“You look at the lineage of players he’s had over the years. Obviously, [Tom] Brady. The Randy Mosses. Corey Dillons. Lawrence Taylors. The list goes on. Tedy Bruschi. It’s no wonder why he’s sustained success over the years,” he said.
“When I name those players, those are just a small smorgasbord of different types of guys, cultures, personas, and everything alike. If he was able to accomplish those things with those players, it made a lot of sense from the time I spoke to him, and obviously meeting him face to face, it removed any type of doubt — if I even had any. It’s just exciting to play for a person like that.”
As for questions of how he might mesh with Belichick, Newton shared why he believed those were being asked.
“We’re going honest? It is because I’m a Black athlete, a quarterback that for a long time, I’ve been unapologetic; carried myself in a way that the media hasn’t gave me my just due,” he said. “But yet at the same time, I do understand that and I don’t have no type of resentment toward that. I embrace who I am, I embrace the moment. I live in the moment. One of the quotes I live by is carpe diem.
“Throughout it all, I’ve been able to see an opportunity. I went down a list of things I expect from Bill Belichick, just like Bill Belichick wants a list of things he wants out of Cam Newton. I think the narrative coming here was kind of stereotypical to an unjust eye; ‘We heard this about Cam. We heard that. He’s a prima donna. He’s this and that.’ But when you really put a microscope to who I really am, there is a lot of favoritism that has not been favorable for my benefit.
“But through it all, I’m not going to make this about me. I want to make this about this team and how to gain these guys’ trust. I think that’s the biggest thing, the biggest challenge I have doing, is letting these guys understand, ‘Listen, I know there’s been a lot said, I can feel the eyes and the attention that’s on me as soon as I walk inside the facility, but at the end of the day, you guys got to know a lot of that is BS, and I’m here to remove all doubts.'”
As for stepping into the void created by Brady’s departure, Newton was asked whether he feels any pressure.
“No sir, no sir. And I think the world of Tom,” he answered. “Just having, not more of a bird’s eye view, but really knowing the people who really knew him on a day-to-day basis and how they speak so highly of him, and just understanding the greatness that you hear of a person like that, it’s great to hear …
“But as far as pressure? No sir. I think the preparation that’s put forth in where I have been in my career — the dark moments, the low moments, and obviously the high moments — has prepared me for this.”
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