Newton out five days due to COVID protocol misunderstanding
New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots QB Cam Newton out until Thursday because of COVID protocol misunderstanding

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton will be sidelined until Thursday after unknowingly violating the NFL's COVID-19 testing policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

The Patriots said in a statement that there was a "misunderstanding" about COVID-19 tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL and NFLPA, Newton will have to sit out five days. 

The former MVP was away from the team on Saturday to attend a club-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England area. He received COVID-19 tests daily, which were all negative. 

However, due to the misunderstanding, he's not eligible to practice.

Newton's absence gives rookie quarterback Mac Jones a significant opportunity to gain ground in the quarterback competition. 

However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Monday morning that "somebody would have to play better" than Newton to get the starting job. It certainly sounds like Belichick doesn't believe Jones has been better than Newton thus far. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also said over the weekend that Newton "certainly is the starter now."

Still, Jones has been impressive in two preseason games and will get the opportunity to make the Patriots coaching staff at least think twice about starting Newton next month. 

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