Patriots' Cam Newton defends N’Keal Harry fumble: 'He’s growing up into his best self'

'I think that one play overshadowed the production he did have,' Newton said

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Cam Newton certainly did not disappoint in his debut with New England Patriots and even more impressive is how he’s assuming his role as team leader.

Newton rushed for two touchdowns in Sunday’s 34-30 win over the Miami Dolphins. He rushed 15 times for 75 yards and threw for 155 yards.

But second-year wide receiver N’Keal Harry found himself in the spotlight after a critical third-quarter fumble and Newton didn’t hesitate to defend the young player.

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“Let’s just put a lot of things into perspective here,” Newton said, according to ESPN. “Did he have a good game? Yes, he did. I think that one play overshadowed the production he did have.”

He continued: “He bailed me out on a play, on a kind of inaccurate pass that he came down with and got the first down. He did pretty good in the run game. He had a couple contested catches. And all that was kind of for naught because a lot of people focused on the fumble.”

Newton didn’t downplay the mistake, which he said both players know is “unacceptable,” but added that Harry is right where he should be.

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“Him still being a young player, trying to come into his own, things like that will happen. You just want it to be minimized as much as possible, but he’s making leaps and strides as everyone would expect him to be. He’s growing up into his best self.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.