Cam Newton has been named the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback, according to a report Thursday from the Boston Globe citing sources within the league.
The Globe’s Jim McBride said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told the players during a team meeting Thursday morning that Newton is the starter.
The Patriots kick off their season Sept. 13 against the Miami Dolphins.
Newton won the starting job competing against fellow Auburn alum Jarrett Stidham and NFL journeyman Brian Hoyer.
The Patriots also listed Newton as one of the team’s eight captains on social media Thursday.
“Dear New England, I will not take this opportunity for granted,” Newton posted on Instagram, sharing the news that he’d been named a captain. “I’m so grateful for this organization, my teammates and this city. Thank you.
“No need to look back now.”
Newton joined the Patriots in early July as part of an all-star team-up under the most unusual circumstances after a messy breakup between Newton and the Carolina Panthers which spilled into the public eye back in the spring, and a few long months that left the former league MVP suddenly feeling undesired.
The Patriots picked him up after the departure of Tom Brady in a wily move by the franchise to see if it can replace one MVP-caliber player with another and keep on winning — and Newton has apparently impressed ever since joining the team.
Belichick raved over Newton earlier this week on Sirius XM’s NFL radio.
“I can see why he had the kind of success that he had at Auburn and at Carolina,” Belichick said Monday. “And talking to people that were with him there, the things that they said about him, at Auburn and at Carolina, from a decade ago to two or three years ago or even last year, it was all the same — and it showed up here.
“He’s an extremely hard worker,” Belichick went on. “Nobody works harder than Cam does.”
The high praise comes from the legendary coach who won six Super Bowls while teamed with Brady in New England — and who hopes his franchise has pulled another shrewd move past the NFL’s other 31 teams.
Newton said earlier this summer he was passed up on even by teams that he thought would call after his career was hampered by injury the last two years and as he was stopped from working out for teams in person amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But when at his best, Newton has proven to be stellar even at the most elite level. His career remains highlighted by the 2015 season that saw him win the NFL MVP award and make it to the Super Bowl.
“He’s here early, he stays late, and he works very hard,” Belichick said. “Some players like to work on things that they’re good at — like if you’re strong on the bench press and you just keep throwing more weight on the bench — but Cam’s the type of player that works on things that he’s not as good at, and really tries to improve on a daily basis, and that’s something that I really respect about him.
“That’s not easy for players — really, any of us — to do, is look at something that we don’t feel like we’re very good at or it’s not one of our strengths, and put extra time into it, when I’d say the natural tendency is to do things you’re good at. So, he’s worked extremely hard in all those areas.”
Newton led the team’s top group in its last scrimmage at Gillette Stadium last Friday, completing 18 of 21 passes per the Associated Press.
Newton won the Heisman Trophy at Auburn in 2010. In New England he teams up with Stidham, a fellow former Auburn star who was drafted by New England in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Belichick called the battle an open competition among those two and Hoyer during fall camp until naming Newton the starter.
“He’s highly competitive,” Belichick said of Newton in that interview earlier this week. “He’s very, very competitive on the field. He always wants to do his best and do better than the guy he’s competing against. You know, everybody’s competitive, but I think there are different degrees of it, and it looks like, based on what I’ve seen, I would put him in the top echelon of that.
“But his competition extends way beyond the field. It’s off the field, and meetings and training and so forth. It’s important to him to be the first guy up the hill when we run sprints and it’s important to him to be the first in everything that he competes in. You can see the effort and the amount of energy that he puts into that.”