Published Caption:  Patriots quarterback Cam Newton looks for a receiver in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon. [The Providence Journal / Kris Craig] Original Caption:  Patriots quarterback Cam Newton looks for a receiver in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

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Reports: Hand injury slows Patriots QB Cam Newton at practice

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton appeared to injure his right hand during the voluntary organized team activity, according to multiple reports Friday.

The training staff reportedly examined Newton’s hand halfway through the session and the former MVP did not return.

First-round draft pick Mac Jones, third-year player Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer took repetitions in Newton’s place.

Newton, 32, re-signed with the team on a one-year deal in March after going 7-8 and passing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with New England in 2020.

The Patriots selected Jones with the 15th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones, 22, passed for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading Alabama to a national championship last season.

Stidham, 24, was drafted in the fourth round out of Auburn in 2019. He has completed 24 of 48 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and four picks in eight games (zero starts) over the past two seasons.

Hoyer, 35, is eying his third stint with New England after playing with the club from 2009-11 and 2017-18.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) and quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) celebrate after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots’ Bill Belichick: Cam Newton ‘still our quarterback’

There is no quarterback controversy in New England. At least not yet.

Bill Belichick said Friday that veteran Cam Newton remains his starter — despite the Patriots drafting Alabama’s Mac Jones in the first round on Thursday night and the continued presence of former Tom Brady heir apparent Jarrett Stidham on the depth chart.

“Cam’s our quarterback,” the head coach told reporters. “Whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge him and compete, we’ll see how that goes. Right now, for Mac, he’s got a lot of learning in front of him, and I know he’s very anxious to get going with it and getting started.”

Newton, who turns 32 on May 11, re-signed with the club on a one-year deal in March after going 7-8 and passing for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season with New England in 2020.

Belichick was asked how long Newton would remain the starter.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Somebody will have to play better than he does.”

Jones, 22, had been projected to go as high as No. 3 in the draft after passing for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship last season. The Patriots landed him with the 15th pick.

Stidham, 24, was drafted in the fourth round out of Auburn in 2019. He has completed 24 of 48 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and four picks in eight games (zero starts) over the past two seasons.

–Field Level Media

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Mac Jones (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the New England Patriots as the number 15 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots select Alabama QB Mac Jones at No. 15

Michael McCorkle Jones was projected to be long gone.

But when the time came for the New England Patriots to make their first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Alabama quarterback “Mac” Jones was still available. It took no time for head coach Bill Belichick to reveal Jones was the choice.

He’s now in the mix in New England after being selected 15th on Thursday night.

“This is what I wanted all along,” Jones said on stage at the draft in Cleveland. “And I can’t wait to play for the greatest franchise in NFL history.”

Jones, a two-time national title winner with the Crimson Tide, was the fifth quarterback chosen in the top 15 on Thursday. He becomes the 11th player drafted by Belichick who played for Nick Saban in college.

In 13 games last season, Jones threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Some argue he was a product of a system that thrived with a rugged offensive line and elite playmakers everywhere. He was a backup in 2017 when Alabama also won the title.

He already seems to have a grasp of the ballyhooed “Patriot Way.”

Saban said last month teams began showing greater interest in Jones late last season and after the national championship game. In conversations with teams, Saban reminds them where Jones started — on the scout team and then behind a slew of talented players, including projected 2021 NFL starters Jalen Hurts (Eagles) and Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins). And, perhaps most importantly, of Jones’ perseverance to keep working toward getting on the field instead of leaving as a transfer.

“I think that the team that picks me is going to realize they don’t have to worry about me being the first guy in and the last guy out,” Jones said last month. “I’m going to sit and watch as much film as I can and do all the right things. And then obviously the tape speaks for itself.”

Jones joins former Auburn quarterbacks Cam Newton and Jarret Stidham with the Patriots. And he could have a chance to see Tagovailoa head to head twice a year in the AFC East.

Newton re-signed with the Patriots after a disappointing 2020 with the team. He went 7-8 in 15 starts and turns 32 next month.

Newton completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushed for 592 yards and 12 scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches from the sidelines during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Rams 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers to take QB at No. 3, defer on Jimmy Garoppolo’s future

The San Francisco 49ers plan to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Monday.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, speaking at their pre-draft press conference, each alluded to the fact that they had the quarterback position in mind when they made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 overall to No. 3.

“What I’m proud of with what we’ve done is we could have sat there at 12 and waited to see which one came to us, and I think whichever one did, if one did … I think that could have looked really good,” Shanahan said.

“But we made a decision in this process that we felt we needed to get a starting quarterback this year and add that to our team. And when we sit there at 12 way back in the day, we wanted to dictate it. We also were worried: Maybe the one we end up wanting doesn’t fall to 12.”

After San Francisco traded the No. 12 pick, its next two first-rounders and a 2022 third-rounder to Miami to move up to No. 3, NFL Network reported that the 49ers told quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo he was “still in (their) plans.” But Garoppolo’s future with the team is now in doubt following Shanahan’s comments about drafting a “starting” quarterback, and he could be an attractive trade target for another team.

Shanahan effectively dodged the question when asked if he was certain if Garoppolo would be on the 49ers’ roster by the end of the week.

“I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday. So that goes for all of us,” he said.

Since arriving in San Francisco via trade from the New England Patriots in 2017, Garoppolo has started 30 games; the 49ers went 22-8 in those starts. He quarterbacked the team to Super Bowl LIV, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. But multiple injuries caused him to miss most of the 2018 and 2020 seasons.

Shanahan said he feels good about five different quarterback prospects for the third pick. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson are widely expected to go with the first two picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. San Francisco then would have its pick among the next three options: Justin Fields of Ohio State, Mac Jones of Alabama and Trey Lance of North Dakota State.

ESPN’s Todd McShay reported Monday that Shanahan wants to select Jones, but others in the front office are pushing for Lance.

Lynch said he “will always defer to” Shanahan on the topic of quarterbacks. Shanahan is the 49ers’ offensive play-caller and has a track record as an offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta.

But the decision at No. 3 will be made jointly by Lynch and Shanahan, Lynch added.

–Field Level Media

Jan 27, 2021; American quarterback Mac Jones of Alabama (10) throws during American practice at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, USA;  Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Mac Jones could miss Senior Bowl with injury

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones is in danger of missing Saturday’s Senior Bowl after injuring his left ankle during Thursday’s practice at Mobile, Ala.

Jones, a Heisman Trophy finalist, said he wasn’t sure he would be able to play in the contest.

“I’m not going to go out there if I’m not 100 percent,” Jones said after the practice. “It’s not fair to my teammates to not be 100 percent and try and play and not play well. I’m going to make the decision, but hopefully I can get treatment and see how it feels.”

Jones is still nursing a right leg injury from the College Football Playoff title game victory over Ohio State earlier this month. He immediately knew there was an issue with his left leg when he sustained the injury.

“I kind of rolled my ankle a little bit. I was more worried about my right leg, but now my left leg is a little hurt,” Jones said. “I didn’t get to finish (practice), but I don’t want to risk it at this point. Get treatment and figure out how I feel.”

Jones is on the American Team. The other quarterbacks on the squad are Kellen Mond of Texas A&M and Jamie Newman, who played for Wake Forest before transferring to Georgia and then opting out of the 2020 season.

The team is being coach by the Carolina Panthers’ staff. Head coach Matt Rhule said Jones was having a highly productive practice prior to the injury.

“He went for a while there, started limping at the end, so I just said, ‘Hey, why don’t you go see the trainer?’” Rhule said. “Last thing I want to do is see the kid get banged up. He was having a hard time. I thought he had a good day, just had to get it himself healed up.”

Jones passed for an Alabama single-season record 4,500 yards and threw 41 touchdown passes this season, He finished third in Heisman Trophy balloting behind winner and teammate DeVonta Smith, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama QB Mac Jones wins Manning Award

Alabama’s Mac Jones on Tuesday was named the winner of the 2020 Manning Award, presented to the nation’s top quarterback.

The redshirt junior guided the No. 1 Crimson Tide (13-0) to the College Football Playoff national championship, completing 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Jones, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting (won by teammate DeVonta Smith), declared for the 2021 NFL Draft last week.

The Manning Award, presented annually since 2004 by the Sugar Bowl committee, was created to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie Manning and his sons, Peyton and Eli.

“It was quite a year for Mac Jones and the Alabama football team,” Archie Manning said in a release. “We had a lot of outstanding quarterbacks around the country, but I don’t think any player directed his offense as efficiently and as effectively as Mac.”

The other finalists this year included Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Notre Dame’s Ian Book and Florida’s Kyle Trask.

Jones is the first Alabama quarterback to win the award, which went to LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrate a touchdown pass from Jones to Smith at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the second half of Alabama's 41-0 win over Mississippi State. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones leads Alabama foursome entering NFL draft

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones joined fellow teammates wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive lineman Christian Barmore in declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

Barmore played as a redshirt sophomore while the other three are juniors, all announcing during a press conference their intent to forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL.

All are expected to be taken in the first round. Along with senior running back Najee Harris and Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith, the Tide could have six players selected in the first round on April 29 in Cleveland.

Jones completed his first full season as Alabama’s starting quarterback as a redshirt junior and threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns. Jones won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Davey O’Brian Award.

“I played every role you can imagine from scout team to starter to national champion,” Jones said Thursday. “… I’m really looking forward to this next opportunity.”

Surtain, whose father, Patrick, played 11 seasons in the NFL, was a unanimous All-American and the Defensive MVP in Alabama’s win over Notre Dame in the CFP semifinals.

“Since I was a kid, my life-long dream was to play in the NFL and with much thought and consideration with my family and prayer I am announcing that I am declaring for the 2021 NFL draft,” Surtain said Thursday.

Barmore recorded 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks – good for second in the SEC — six quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles this season.

Waddle missed most of the season with a fractured ankle but caught 28 passes for 591 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 21.11 yards per reception in six games.

The Tide defeated Ohio State to win another national championship earlier this week.

–Field Level Media