After a rocky 2020 season with the Patriots, Cam Newton has no plans to hang it up just yet.
Instead, the 31-year-old Newton, who is set to become a free agent next month having spent last season with the Patriots, remains confident that he's still a starting quarterback in the NFL.
"Hell no! I can't go out like that. I hear all of that talk," Newton said on Brandon Marshall's I AM ATHLETE podcast about retirement speculation. "My pride won’t allow me to do it. There aren't 32 guys better than me."
After being released by the Panthers following the 2019 season, Newton signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last June. However, his future still seems uncertain after his first season with New England as he threw for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions, ranking 24th in the NFL in passing yards. He did, though, remain effective while running the ball, rushing for 592 yards with 12 touchdowns.
While acknowledging his inconsistency, Newton discussed missing two weeks early in the season after testing positive for COVID-19. He thought he would be able to adjust quickly after returning, but said the challenge was tough amid the unusual season which also included limited offseason work and no preseason.
"At the end of the day, sometimes you have to go through things in that type of manner to make you realize that you can't skip process," Newton said. "I went in there thinking like, 'Aw man, I'm here now ...But, bro, I needed time. I'll be the first person to tell you, I needed time."
It's unlikely Newton will return to the Patriots next season, but Washington head coach Ron Rivera hasn't ruled out the option of reuniting with his former quarterback.
"I think the biggest thing we can say, guys, is that we're exploring all of our options," Rivera said when asked about Newton. "Nothing is off the table. Again, as we go through this, we're going to do what we believe is best for us."