Cam Newton’s tenure with the Patriots hasn’t gone as he expected, but for once, an athlete is taking responsibility for his past performance. Rather than complaining about potentially losing his starting role to a white player, he has decided to accept the challenge Mac Jones offers.
Maybe this is why Newton has a job and Colin Kaepernick doesn’t?
"For me, the Patriots’ organization has been impeccable," Newton said Thursday on ESPN Radio. "So my time there has been everything I could have asked for. I guess it’s now time for me to uphold my end of the bargain, through and through."
Newton didn’t exactly do that last season in Foxborough, as he threw ten interceptions and just eight touchdowns. But at least he’s self-aware, unlike plenty of other former stars whose performances declined steeply. Rather than blaming his play on Bill Belichick or his injuries (which are a valid excuse, honestly), he decided to stay professional and accept the challenge of earning the starting job back.
Newton still has an edge, though
Super Cam still has a chip on his shoulder, and that’s likely why he captured the 2015 MVP. He dedicated the rest of his ESPN interview to explain why he still feels confident without feeling entitled. As most of us know, it’s become painfully difficult for athletes to accomplish that.
"I know who I am. At times, I do remind myself people forget who you are, and what you’ve done. So now I’m in a position now where I need to be myself. It’s really put up or shut up time," Newton said.
He’s absolutely right, it really is. The Patriots announced that the starter for Week 1 is up in the air and that there will be an open competition between Newton and rookie QB Mac Jones. Newton has made over $65 million during his pro football career, so it’s easy to see how ego can get involved here. Thankfully, Cam Newton isn’t cut from that Kaepernick cloth that never takes any accountability for what happens on the field.