Patriots quarterback Cam Newton will be away from the team until Thursday, Aug. 26 after a "misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities," the team announced Monday.
Newton was not at New England's practice Monday.
The team said in a statement that on Saturday he traveled to a team-approved appointment that required him to leave the New England area. According to the Patriots, while he received daily COVID-19 tests, which all returned negative, he is still subject to a "five-day entry cadence process" before returning to the facility.
As noted by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, only unvaccinated players are subject to the five-day re-entry process.
Newton is currently in the midst of a quarterback battle with No. 15–pick Mac Jones. Newton struggled last season, his first with the Patriots, as the franchise finished 7—9 and missed the playoffs.
Jones, a former Alabama star, finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting last year, threw for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns with four interceptions and a 77.4 completion percentage.
Thus far in training camp, coach Bill Belichick has said that Newton remains the team's starter. On Monday, during an interview with The Greg Hill Show, Belichick also didn't rule out the possibility of a platoon at the position.
“Those specific questions like that are really hard to answer," Belichick said. "I mean, here’s what I will always say: I will always say I am going to do what is best for the team. I am going to do whatever I can to help the team win. So, if that’s playing a guard in the backfield, then we’ll play a guard in the backfield. If it’s putting 10 defensive backs on the field, if that’s what it is, maybe we’ll put 10 defensive backs on the field. I am not going to rule out anything. If I think something would help us win, I would consider it.
"The goal is not to have this happen, or have that happen; it’s to work through our system and ultimately do what we feel like is best for the team. And that’s at every position, every game, all the way across the board.”
New England plays its final preseason game this Sunday against the Giants. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. ET.
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