Any more questions?
After a summer when Cam Newton and his new teammates and coaches traded praise on an almost daily basis, Newton punctuated his answer to anyone still wondering whether he’ll fit in New England by calling it a “match made in heaven.”
“The same questions that a lot of people, and talk shows, gossip talk, and barber-shop talk, and chitter-chatter text messages wanted to know, I wanted to know as well. Is it real what they say about (Bill) Belichick?” Newton began during a Monday interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” “Is it going to be too ... I didn’t know. I think, honestly, it’s been a match made in heaven for me.
“Just knowing that I’m at a place where everything is pulling in the same direction and everything is geared toward winning.”
Newton won the Patriots’ quarterback competition this summer by building on his steady progress throughout training camp. Last week, Belichick officially named him the starter in a team meeting, when it was also revealed the 31-year-old had been voted a team captain by teammates. Newton was a perennial captain over his nine seasons in Carolina.
Prior to signing the former MVP, Belichick conferred with former Panther coaches about their experience working with Newton. After hearing them rave, Belichick is now giving his own positive reviews.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, he works hard, he’s obviously a very talented player. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him,” Belichick told reporters Monday. “We’ll just take it day by day, but he’s given us everything he’s had.”
Asked about the perception that he and Belichick wouldn’t mesh — a concern a few of his former teammates shared publicly — Newton pinned it on racial stereotyping and a media misunderstanding.
“We’re going honest? It is because I’m a Black athlete; a quarterback that for a long time, I’ve been unapologetic, carried myself in a way that the media hasn’t gave me my just due,” he said. “But yet at the same time, I do understand that, and I don’t have no type of resentment toward that. I embrace who I am, I embrace the moment. I live in the moment.”
Newton has stressed he’s actively working to dispel preconceived notions about him as a player and person in the locker room. He’s said he wants to be permanently available to his teammates, who as recently as Sunday hailed his work ethic, as someone who’s regularly in the team facility before 6 a.m. and never leaves after meetings have concluded.
“I think that’s the biggest thing,” Newton said. “The biggest challenge I have doing, is letting these guys understand, ‘Listen, I know there’s been a lot said, I can feel the eyes and the attention that’s on me as soon as I walk inside the facility, but at the end of the day you guys got to know a lot of that is BS, and I’m here to remove all doubts.’”