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Cam sidelined over protocol ‘misunderstanding’

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton will remain away from the team until Thursday due to a “misunderstanding” on COVID-19 tests “conducted away from NFL facilities,” the club announced.

Newton’s absence comes after he traveled to a Patriots-approved medial appointment that required him to leave the New England region, according to the team’s statement.

“He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility,” the statement read.

According to NFL-NFLPA protocols, Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals — including all players — are exempt from daily testing and allowed to travel if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Newton will continue participating virtually in team activities, but will miss practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wednesday practice is the first of two with the New York Giants in Foxborough, Mass.

In Newton’s absence, first-round pick Mac Jones bumps up the depth chart, followed by veteran Brian Hoyer.

Coach Bill Belichick said earlier Monday that Newton is the starting quarterback, but like players at any position, he still has to re-establish that standing throughout the preseason. Belichick said, at any position, there could be a change if someone performs better than the starter or the starter isn’t available.

Newton has taken No. 1 reps throughout training camp until Monday. He started both preseason games and is 12-of-16 passing for 152 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has played a total of 29 snaps.

Jones has been the No. 2 quarterback until Monday, coming in behind Newton at practice and in the first two preseason games. He is 26-of-38 passing for 233 yards, with no touchdowns and interceptions, over two preseason games. He has played 77 snaps.

Earlier in training camp, when Newton was asked if he was vaccinated he declined comment, saying it was a personal matter.

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