The New England Patriots have released Cam Newton and named Mac Jones the starting quarterback, according to The Boston Globe and other reports.
NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry and ESPN's Adam Schefter also confirmed the Globe's report.
Newton responded to his release on Instagram Tuesday morning, saying "I really appreciate all the love and support during this time but I must say... please don't feel sorry for me!! I'm good."
Later Tuesday he shared the same message on Twitter.
A backup quarterback, Brian Hoyer, was cut later Tuesday, though he may be brought back later on in the season.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had declined to name a starting quarterback throughout the preseason and praised Newton as recently as Tuesday morning.
"Certainly he started at a much higher point than what he did last year. So, definitely moving in the right direction," Belichick said in a press conference about two hours before McBride's report.
Newton served as the team's lead quarterback throughout the season, but missed several days of practice last week due to a "miscommunication" over COVID-19 protocols.
While Newton played well at times this summer, Jones has made great strides since the Patriots selected him No. 15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Alabama product completed 36 of 52 passes (69.2%) over three preseason games with one touchdown and no interceptions and excelled in joint practices with the New York Giants last week with Newton sidelined due to COVID protocols.
As NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran wrote Monday, Jones did enough to earn the starting QB job from Newton, and it appears Belichick has rewarded the rookie for his efforts.
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Shock and awe surrounded Patriots Place Tuesday as fans reacted to the quarterback shake up. While some thought it was shocking, other said it was only a matter of time before Jones took the job away from Newton.
“Cut down day is usually heart breaking, not heart stopping," one woman said. "He stopped my heart when I saw that across the TV of Cam being released.”
Outside the team store, another fan said he was not surprised.
"I thought it was going to go in this direction,” he said.
The ending for Newton in New England is the beginning for Jones.
Fan excitement around the new QB 1 led to jersey sales taking off.
“I’ve been wanting to get a Mac Jones shirt and when I got the news today I said to my daughter, 'we’re right here, let’s go to the pro shop and get some Mac Jones shirts,'” one man said.
A younger Pats fans said it was cool that he got one of the last ones before the #10 jerseys sold out Tuesday.