No hard feelings, Cam Newton, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is done living in New England’s past, whether referring to their 20-year run with Tom Brady under center or the past muddled 18 months.
Newton’s return to the program this offseason was always a bit surprising, since both sides seemed to part ways (relatively) amicably when the strange 2020 campaign officially ended.
The veteran had strong weeks (his frenzied comeback in Seattle) and weak moments (his COVID absence and the scuffles that ensued), but all in all, the ex-MVP always felt like a stopgap while the Pats waited for a chance to secure their future, whether via trade (Deshaun Watson rumors certainly have slowed down, huh?) or the draft.
Needless to say, Mac Jones’ arrival felt like the beginning of the end for the veteran, no matter how much respect Coach Belichick actually had for him, an end which became official last Tuesday.
In a media appearance on Tuesday morning, Belichick made it clear Newton’s vaccine-related antics towards the end of his tenure changed very little with regard to his standing with the organization.
Rather, it was time to remove all safety nets and look towards the future.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick officially called Mac Jones “the future.”
As Belichick told WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Tuesday morning:
"“A lot of guys that worked hard. A lot of guys that performed well and had either good years for us, or good careers. I respect all those things, but each year is its own year and I have to do what I feel like is best for the football team. So in regard to every decision, that’s what I try to do.“I have nothing but positive thoughts and feelings for Cam. He came in here, he worked hard. He gave us everything (he) had. Right now, our future is going to be Mac at quarterback, and that is where we’re going to go.”"
Most pundits seem to believe quite strongly in both the future and the present in New England, due in large part to the infrastructure Jones managed to build within.
The Patriots have operated for a long time as a natural bud on the Alabama Crimson Tide’s tree, and Jones seems to have firmly solidified the comparison, pleased as punch that he landed an opportunity to execute and further explore the same system in the pros.
Whether Jones finds immediate success or not (the floor feels high here, to be fair), Belichick’s parting words for Newton proved he’s ready to tip his cap and move on to a solidified future.
It begins Week 1.