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#pounditMonday, October 25, 2021

Bill Belichick says vaccination status played no role in Cam Newton decision

Bill Belichick

Many were shocked that the New England Patriots released Cam Newton this week, and one theory is that the quarterback’s decision to not get the COVID-19 vaccine played a role in the decision. As you might expect, Bill Belichick insists it did not.

Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley reported on Tuesday that Newton being unvaccinated was one of three main factors that led to him being cut. Belichick was asked about that when he met with the media on Wednesday, and the coach said it is untrue.

“No. You guys keep talking about that, and I would just point out that … the number of players and coaches and staff members that have been affected by COVID in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number,” Belichick said, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “I wouldn’t lose sight of that.”

Belichick was then asked if he considered keeping Newton as a backup to Mac Jones.

“I’m not gonna go through all the different things with any player on that,” he said. “We’ll just leave it the way it is and go from there.”

Those responses are exactly what you would expect from Belichick. He never reveals his motivation behind roster moves other than “doing what’s best for the team.”

Newton missed several days of practice last week due to what the Patriots called a “misunderstanding” with COVID protocols. The team was reportedly frustrated with him over the situation. He then played poorly in Sunday’s preseason game against the New York Giants, and Jones played well.

It’s worth noting that Urban Meyer already got himself into trouble by admitting vaccination status was a consideration when making roster decisions. Belichick isn’t about to make the same mistake.

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