FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There are a lot of things Cam Newton is feeling as he prepares to take the field Sunday to succeed Tom Brady as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
Pressure isn’t one of them.
“That’s not pressure to me,” Newton said. “Pressure is when you’re looking at your children and you’re saying you’re 31 and you don’t know. You’re not ready to retire but nobody is calling your phone. That’s pressure. When you don’t have control of your destiny.”
That was the daily whirlwind the 2015 league MVP remembers being in after being released by the Panthers in March following back-to-back seasons marred by injuries.
“So for me, I’m elated, I’m excited, I’m all that and a bag of chips because I knew that if God didn’t show favor over me, man, who knows where I’d be right now,” he said.
What is a big deal for him, though, will be becoming the first Black player in Patriots history to be the Week 1 starter at quarterback during a time when the country is having a wide-ranging discussion on race.
It was just four years ago that Jacoby Brissett became the first Black quarterback to start for New England in 2016. He started the second game of the season while Brady was serving his four-game suspension for his role in the “Deflategate” scandal. At the time only the Patriots and New York Giants hadn’t started a Black player at quarterback.
So it’s a milestone that isn’t lost on Newton as he prepares to play in his first NFL game since sitting out the final 14 games of the 2019 season with a foot injury.