The New England Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton and turned the starting job over to Mac Jones.
Newton responded to the news with an Instagram post Tuesday morning, informing supporters he didn’t need any sympathy.
“I really appreciate all the love and support during this time,” he wrote, “but I must say … please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m good.”
As the Patriots starter last season, Newton — the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player — completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He ran for 592 yards with 12 scores.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said earlier Tuesday, before news broke of the transaction, that Newton was “moving in the right direction.”
Asked to characterize the preseason Newton has had, Belichick gave no indication a move might be coming before the NFL deadline to set the 53-man regular season roster at 4 p.m. ET.
“I feel like everybody’s way ahead of where they were last year,” Belichick said. “Certainly, he started at a much higher point than what he did last year, so definitely moving in the right direction.”
Newton signed a one-year deal to return to the Patriots worth close to $14 million. Releasing Newton before the regular-season roster is set comes with significant savings, which invites the possibility of Newton rejoining the team at a reduced cost.
But the 2011 top overall pick lost a training camp battle against Jones to keep the job, hindered in part by landing in the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
Newton started Sunday’s preseason finale against the New York Giants, but completed just 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards and left after two drives. His final pass was an interception that ended the second drive.
Jones took over and went 10-for-14 for 156 yards with a touchdown. Jones completed 36 of 52 passes for 389 yards over the three preseason games.
Barring additional moves, Brian Hoyer will be Jones’ backup for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough, Mass.
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