New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton addressed the media for the first time as a member of the New England Patriots on Friday morning. And he said he's thrilled to be here.
Newton said some level of doubt did start to creep into his mind when he still hadn't been signed after the draft. But ultimately, he's glad that he landed in New England.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"Honestly, the wait was so long I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that a lot of different potentials didn't kind of creep into your mind," he said. "But through it all, I had an unbelievable supporting cast -- family, friends -- who kept me focused on the straight and narrow."
"I just use that as fuel," he added. "As a constant reminder."
Newton said he's almost in disbelief that he wound up with a team like the Patriots.
"It's just a surreal moment," he said. "Nobody really knows how excited I am, just to be part of this organization, and in many ways just following up such a powerful dynasty enriched in so much prestige... I wake up pinching myself every day."
Assuming he’s healthy coming off foot surgery in December, the free agent pickup and 2015 MVP would seem the front-runner to win the job over second-year Jarrett Stidham and veteran backup Brian Hoyer as they vie to succeed Tom Brady following his departure to Tampa Bay.
Newton, 31, was released in March by Carolina, the team he’d been with since being selected as the top draft pick in 2011. His best season was 2015 when he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record in the regular season and an NFC championship. He threw for 3,837 yards and combined for 35 touchdowns en route to earning league MVP honors.
But the foot injury limited him to two games in 2019. That was after a shoulder injury also severely hampered him in 2018.
"At this point in time, I'm full go," Newton said Friday when asked about his health.
"I feel amazing, feeling great," he added. "I"m extremely optimistic abou that."
During a roundtable discussion last month with Odell Beckham Jr., Todd Gurley and Victor Cruz, Newton said that the specter of trying to replace Brady was “the elephant in the room” surrounding his signing. He also acknowledged wondering how “me and Belichick are going to mesh?”
He’s attempted to answer by trying to begin the jelling process with existing Patriots players prior to reporting to camp.
Newton has been all over social media in recent weeks while working out with Patriots receivers. A photo posted on Julian Edelman’s Instagram page showed Edelman and Newton posing with Patriots receivers Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, N’Keal Harry and Gunner Olszewski after a workout session.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.