New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton acknowledged his starting role could be in jeopardy after he was pulled out of Sunday’s forgettable loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Newton was withdrawn in the fourth quarter of New England’s 33-6 NFL defeat to San Francisco, having thrown three interceptions for the slumping Patriots.
A three-time Pro Bowler, former MVP Newton joined the Patriots on a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers exit to replace legendary quarterback Tom Brady – who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After finishing nine-of-15 for 98 yards as the Patriots fell to 2-4 following a third consecutive defeat, Newton told Boston sports radio station WEEI on Monday: “The first thing I said to myself coming home was, ‘You keep playing games like that, bro, and it’s going to be a permanent change’.
“You don’t need to tell me that for me to understand that. I get it loud and clear.”
In five appearances this season, Newton has completed 88 of 131 passes for 969 yards, two touchdowns, seven interceptions and 10 sacks.
Newton added: “For any type of competitor, do you feel embarrassed? Yeah. I don’t feel offended by what was done. I don’t feel offended having this type of conversation. I’m a realist.
“I don’t fear my position stability more so than controlling the locker room. Performances like yesterday jeopardises [that]. It’s like, ‘Oh my God!’ Players talk, and that’s what’s most important to me.
“Knowing you have your coaches’ belief [is good], but my belief is that I want to have the whole facility. … It doesn’t start with no miraculous play. It’s a whole body of work that goes into performing on Sunday.”
Newton spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers after he was chosen first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft – throwing for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions.
The 31-year-old was named the 2015 NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos.
The Panthers made the playoffs in four of Newton’s nine seasons with the team.
However, in recent years, Newton has been hindered by injuries.
Newton battled a shoulder injury in 2018, with a once-promising campaign derailed as the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games to finish 7-9.
He played only two games in 2019, losing both, with Lisfranc fracture forcing him to watch the rest of a 5-11 season from the sideline.
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