Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) puts on his helmet prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Newton hopes to start, not retire

Cam Newton might be headed toward free agency, but the New England Patriots’ quarterback is not thinking about retirement.

“No, I’m not there,” he said Monday on the Greg Hill Show. “I still have a lot of football left. I still want to play football. I have the urge to be better. After putting out this film? Hey, c’mon now. I definitely can’t go out like this.”

Newton and the Patriots lost Sunday and were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2008. The 22-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins underscored a number of needs, head coach Bill Belichick allowed, and sends the Patriots to a full offseason of rebuilding for the first time in nearly two decades.

“I have to coach better, we have to play better, we have to tackle better, a combination of all of those things,” Belichick said Sunday after the Dolphins amassed 250 rushing yards.

Newton, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Patriots after being released by the Carolina Panthers. He said the tale of the 2020 season for the Patriots has been coming up short.

Now it’s to be determined whether the Patriots, or another team, will give Newton a shot to prove this season was an anomaly. Newton remained unsigned for several weeks when he was cut by the Panthers in April.

The Patriots have gone 21 possessions without a touchdown. Up next is a Monday night date in Week 16 with the AFC East champion Buffalo Bills.

Belichick could decide to try 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham with the playoffs no longer a possibility.

“Listen, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m asked to do, and for me, I’ve just got to keep getting better,” said Newton, the MVP of the 2015 season. “Keep doing what’s asked of me and go over and beyond and try to learn the system each and every week. I know we’re in the latter part of the season, but still try to learn as much as possible.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (middle) looks on from the sidelines with head coach Bill Belichick (right) after being replaced in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Belichick done talking about status of QB Newton

One day after benching quarterback Cam Newton in the fourth quarter and then saying the veteran still is his signal caller moving forward, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick refused to address the topic Friday.

“I’ve answered that for the last time,” Belichick said Friday after going over the game film of New England’s 24-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Newton completed just 9 of 16 passes for 119 yards on Thursday night against one of the top defenses in the NFL. He threw one interception, which was returned 79 yards for a touchdown by the Rams’ Kenny Young.

“We knew exactly what they were going to do,” Newton said after the game. “We just have to be better and it starts with me personally. (I) just have to make more plays and that’s what it comes down too.”

The Patriots are just 6-7 on the season and are on the brink of being eliminated from playoff consideration. They visit the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 20.

An early 10-0 lead by the Rams forced the Patriots into a pass-heavy attack and it went nowhere, which is not a huge surprise. The Patriots average 185.4 yards passing per game in their first season since 2000 without Tom Brady as the starter, and the total is third from the bottom in the NFL.

Known as a dual threat for his passing and running abilities, Newton added just 16 yards rushing Thursday, tied for his second lowest total of the season. On a key fourth-and-goal situation near the Rams’ goal line in the second quarter, Newton tried to run but was stopped for a 2-yard loss.

In the fourth quarter, Belichick replaced Newton with Jarrett Stidham for the final three drives. The Patriots didn’t score on any of them. Afterward, Belichick was asked if the quarterback change was permanent.

“Yeah, great question, really glad you asked that,” Belichick said. “Cam’s our quarterback.”

Newton, 31, also was asked about a potential benching over the final three games.

“That’s not my call,” the 10-year player said. “I’m just doing what I’m asked. I still go into each and every week with the mentality to keep getting better and that’s what I plan on doing.”

Newton, who has been named to the Pro Bowl three times, has 2,172 yards passing this season with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In his previous nine seasons, all with the Carolina Panthers, he had 29,041 yards passing with 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions.

Newton accumulated 58 rushing touchdowns for Carolina and has ran for 11 this season with New England.

-Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws a pass to warm up between plays during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Newton, Gilmore back on the field for Patriots

Quarterback Cam Newton, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice squad defensive lineman Bill Murray all returned to practice for the New England Patriots on Thursday following stints on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The practice was the first of the week and just the second since Oct. 2 for the Patriots (2-2), who are scheduled to face the visiting Denver Broncos (1-3) on Sunday. With their appearance in practice on Thursday, presumably both Newton and Gilmore will be available to play. The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 11, but was postponed following multiple positive COVID-19 tests for the Patriots.

Newton has been out since a positive COVID-19 test on Oct. 2; he was added to the COVID list the next day. Newton was activated from the reserve/COVID list on Wednesday.

Gilmore, the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has been out since he tested positive on Oct. 7.

According to media reports, the Patriots were still without defensive tackle Byron Cowart, defensive lineman Deatrich Wise and practice squad tight end Paul Quessenberry on Thursday. Cowart remains on New England’s reserve/COVID list after testing positive on Sunday, while Wise was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday’s injury report for non-injury reasons.

New England coach Bill Belichick was asked Thursday if Newton would see a normal workload after his absence. Newton missed one game, the Patriots’ loss at Kansas City, after starting the first three games.

“Well, we’ll have to see how it goes,” Belichick said. “We haven’t had an opportunity to do much here in the last 10 days or so. We’ve been on the field really one time. So, we’ll just have to see how things go here and that’s with everybody — it’s not specific to any individual player — but just in general.”

Gilmore, meanwhile, did not miss any games as his positive test came after he appeared in the loss at Kansas City.

The Patriots are 2-1 in Newton’s three starts this season, and the QB has been a good fit early on with New England. Newton has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 714 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and has rushed for 149 yards and a team-high four touchdowns.

Gilmore, in four games in 2020, has posted nine tackles, two passes defended, one interception and forced one fumble.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Newton to rejoin Patriots on Thursday

New England starting quarterback Cam Newton is expected to rejoin the team Thursday when the Patriots return to practice, ESPN reported.

He has been on the COVID-19 reserve list since Oct. 3 after testing positive.

Three other Patriots later tested positive, forcing the postponement of their Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos and the closure of their practice facilities.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, defensive tackle Byron Cowart and practice squad DT Bill Murray are the others who landed on the COVID-19 list.

Newton was with his teammates on Wednesday when the Patriots’ practice facilities reopened.

Practicing Thursday would put him in line to start Sunday when the Patriots (2-2) host the Broncos (1-3).

Newton missed just one game due to his positive test. Backup Brian Hoyer started the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 5.

Newton, 31, played in the Patriots’ first three games this season, his first in New England. He has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 714 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also rushed for 149 yards and four touchdowns.

–Field Level Media