Cam Newton’s time in New England may be up, but the veteran quarterback isn't ready for retirement just yet.
"Hell no," he said. "I can't go out like that. I hear all of that talk. My pride won't allow me to do it. There aren't 32 guys better than me."
Newton explained that after missing the Patriots' Week 4 matchup against the Denver Broncos because of his bout with COVID-19, he struggled to get back into the swing of things.
"By the time I came back, I didn't feel comfortable physically, skillfully … A lot of that discomfort came pre-snap."
He continued: "I'm lost. I'm thinking too much. ... The offense kept going, and I was stopped and stagnant for two weeks. By the time I came back, it was new terminology. ... I wasn't just trying to learn a system for what it was, I was learning a — let's be honest — a 20-year system in two months."
Newton totaled 2,657 passing yards for just eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions this past season. He also ran for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns but struggled to get to the playoffs as the Patriots finished 7-9. He is expected to be a free agent in March but the former league MVP expressed his interest in staying in New England.
"Yes. Hell yes," Newton said of taking another one-year deal. "I’m getting tired of changing. I’m at the point in my career where I know way more than I knew last year."
Newton said last month that it was too early to say if he would accept a backup role despite not wanting one but there’s no telling what more time in Bill Belichick’s system could do for him.
"Honestly, it's too early to tell. That's as honest as I can be," he said at the time. "Do I think I have starting talent? Absolutely. Do I think a lot of things that I've done were devalued? Not the team's perspective, probably the media's perspective — absolutely."
Fox News' Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.