Cam Newton looked to have revitalized his NFL career by joining the New England Patriots. But it’s 2020, so COVID-19 got in the way.
Newton’s positive COVID-19 test was announced Saturday, Oct. 3. In an NFL Week 4 that was filled with news of positive Tennessee Titans tests, Newton’s positive result became the first marquee name forced to miss a game during the regular season – in this case, a showdown with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Prior to Newton’s placement on the COVID-19/reserve list, he’d looked healthy and at times dominant through three weeks that had seen the Patriots go 2-1. Newton had thrown for 714 yards and two touchdowns to go with 149 rushing yards and four more touchdowns. The Patriots turn to veteran backup Brian Hoyer in Newton’s absence.
Here’s what you need to know about when Newton is allowed to and might return from COVID-19:
Is Cam Newton playing Monday night?
Newton is not playing on Monday night in Kansas City against the Chiefs. The Patriots traveled with two planes to keep the players most exposed to Newton separate from the rest of the team.
Placement on the COVID-19/reserve list Saturday ensured Newton wouldn’t play in Week 4. He has to stay on that list for a bare minimum of five days – the full removal process is laid out below.
In Newton’s place, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer is expected to start for the Patriots ahead of Jarrett Stidham. Due in part to a matchup with Patrick Mahomes and in part to its quarterback situation, New England is the largest betting underdog it’s been since the 2002 Super Bowl against the Rams.
How long is Cam Newton out with COVID-19?
There are a few different timelines to be followed once a player is placed on the COVID-19/reserve list. The shortest possible activation from the list is five days for an asymptomatic player. That can only occur if, after a player’s first positive test result, he has consecutive negative PCR test results separated by 24 hours. In that case, approval is also required from the team physician after consultation with the NFL.
If Newton is asymptomatic but doesn’t have those immediate, consecutive negative tests, he can be removed from the list after 10 days of showing no symptoms.
It isn’t clear at present whether Newton has symptoms. If he does, he cannot return from the list until 10 days have passed since symptoms first arrived. Additionally, Newton can not have displayed symptoms for 72 hours before he’s allowed to be removed from the list. Just like in the first instance, approval is required from the team and NFL, and Newton must also be following local rules and regulations.
With Newton out against the Chiefs, his next chance to play comes Sunday in Week 5 on Oct. 11 against the Denver Broncos. Newton’s positive test result on Oct. 3 is less than 10 days ahead of the game against Denver. If Newton has displayed any symptoms, he won’t be able to play against the Broncos because 10 days have yet to pass. If Newton is asymptomatic, he’d still have a chance to play if he could put together consecutive negative PCR tests separated by 24 hours.
Basing things on the Tennessee Titans is tricky because of how cases continued to move through their team. The better case might be to look at Atlanta rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list Sept. 26. As of Oct. 5, nine days later, Terrell hadn’t been activated.
NFL COVID-19 OUTBREAK TIMELINE:
How coronavirus postponed two Week 4 games
Cam Newton COVID-19 timeline
Oct. 5 – Brian Hoyer starts for New England on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Oct. 4 – Patriots-Chiefs is rescheduled one day back to Monday, Oct. 5, in order to do enough follow-up testing after Newton’s positive test.
Oct. 3 – Newton is placed on COVID-19/reserve list and ruled out for Patriots’ Week 4 game against Chiefs.
Cam Newton COVID-19 updates
Oct. 4 – Newton thanks his well-wishers via Instagram for their love and support.
Oct. 3 – News breaks Saturday morning that Newton has been placed on the COVID-19/reserve list after testing positive for the coronavirus.
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