By KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Patriots quarterback Cam Newton will miss at least three days of training this week after going to a team-approved medical appointment out of town over the weekend end, perhaps opening the door for rookie Mac Jones to gain ground in their competition to be the Week 1 starter.
The team said in a statement Monday that Newton attended the appointment on Saturday and tested negative every day for COVID-19.
But due to a “misunderstanding of testing outside of NFL facilities” required by NFL and NFLPA protocols, he was put through a five-day re-entry cadence before he could return to the facility. of the Patriots team. The earliest he is eligible to return is Thursday.
The statement said Newton will continue to participate virtually in team activities while he is kept out of practice. How that will affect his availability for the Patriots Show Finals against the Giants on Sunday will be determined. The Giants will be in Foxborough for joint practices Wednesday and Thursday before hosting New England for the game.
According to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols which were recently updated on July 27, only unvaccinated players are subject to the five-day re-entry cadence which requires daily testing. Fully vaccinated players should take a test every 14 days.
When asked earlier this month if he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, Newton declined to answer.
“I think it’s too personal for each person to discuss, and I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.
Newton missed a game early last season after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Monday marked the first absence from training this preseason for Newton, who is in his second season in New England after being signed before last season after Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay.
Newton struggled in limited action in the Patriots’ opener of preseason, but shone in their second exhibition game in Philadelphia last week, passing for 103 yards and a touchdown in a 35-0 win. He’s trying to keep his starting job this season after New England used their first-round pick against Jones.
In Newton’s absence, Jones received all the training snapshots with the planned first-team offense on Monday.
Veteran Patriots safety Devin McCourty has been a vaccination advocate and, along with teammate Matt Slater, participated in a video promoting the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine in April.
But McCourty, who acknowledged his own initial hesitation about the vaccine, also said and reiterated repeatedly on Monday that the decision to get the vaccine should be a personal one.
He said any effect these decisions have on the whole team must be taken in stride.
“In the end, that’s how it is. You have to comply with whatever we are asked to do, or whatever you want to see the rules, or whatever. We take it from there, ”McCourty said.
“And I think that’s what every guy is going to do in the locker room. Take care of what they can control and whatever happens to us, it will be what it is. “
Coach Bill Belichick said cornerback Stephon Gilmore remains hand-to-hand as he recovers from a quadriceps injury that has kept him on the active / physically unable to perform roster throughout camp training.
“I know Steph worked extremely hard. See him here all the time, and he does other things while we’re training, so we don’t really see him on the training ground, but you know he did everything he could do, ” Belichick said.
“The things that he hasn’t been able to do, he hasn’t been able to do.… When he’s ready to be there, then he’ll be there.”
The regular season status of the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year remains uncertain as he seeks additional compensation ahead of the final season of the five-year, $ 65 million deal he signed in 2017. He is expected to earn a base salary of $ 7 million this season.
Although he was unable to train, cornerback coach Mike Pellegrino said Gilmore has remained engaged with his teammates.
“It’s very easy for guys when they’re hurt to shut up and take a step back. He didn’t, ”Pellegrino said. “Was great. I love having Steph in the room. So he’s been top notch throughout it. “
Tight end Jonnu Smith returned to practice Monday after missing the exhibition game with the Eagles.
Long snapper Joe Cardona, who had been sidelined with an unspecified injury since August 9, as well as defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, defensive back Jonathan Jones and kicker Nick Folk were also back in training. .
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