Patriots' Newton: 2021 season is 'put-up or shut-up time'
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) participates in a drill during mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex.  Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots' Cam Newton: 2021 season is 'put-up or shut-up time'

Following a disappointing season that included an absence related to a bout with COVID-19, one-time regular-season Most Valuable Player Cam Newton returned to the New England Patriots in March on a one-year contract. That, however, was before the Patriots selected Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones in the first round of this year's draft. 

Per Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk, Newton suggested during a Thursday appearance on ESPN's "Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin" show he is eager to silence doubters. 

"I know who I am," Newton said. "At times, I do remind myself people forget who you are, and what you’ve done. So now I’m in a position where I need to be my best self. It’s really put-up or shut-up time." 

The 32-year-old added: "I guess it’s now time for me to uphold my end of the bargain, through and through."

Newton combined eight touchdown passes with 10 interceptions and 12 rushing scores during the 2020 campaign, but he often appeared to lack the necessary arm strength to routinely compete at the highest level. Last month, he told reporters he "110%" supported the Patriots drafting Jones. 

Jones, meanwhile, has said everybody in the team's QB room is working "to get better together." 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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