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Under NFL rules, unvaccinated players must be tested daily for the virus, as opposed to once a week for vaccinated players, and they cannot move around team premises or travel around. mingle with their teammates as freely as vaccinated players.

Once one of the league’s most electrifying players as a quarterback in the Carolina Panthers franchise, Newton had the misfortune of sustaining a serious foot injury in 2019, limiting him to two games, a few months before a new regime took control of the front office and a pandemic disrupted the movement of players out of season. The Panthers released him, but as other quarterbacks signed quickly, Newton languished for months, apparently unwilling to be a replacement.

In the depressed market for his services, the Patriots saw an opportunity. After severing ties with Tom Brady, the team signed Newton to a highly incentive one-year contract in June 2020, and he quickly beat Jarrett Stidham in training camp. Starting in 15 games for New England, Newton rushed for 12 touchdowns and completed 65.8% of his passes, though the offense missed large chunks of a season plagued by infrequent practice. and meager players.

The Patriots, wanting a rostered quarterback before free agency began, re-signed Newton in what was a prelude to a bigger investment in the position. For the first time in his 22 New England draft, Belichick drafted a quarterback in the first round, placing Jones in 15th place.

No defense in 2020 could stop Jones, who at the University of Alabama threw for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions, leading the nation with 11.2 yards per attempt and a completion percentage of 77.4. Traditional pocket passer, Jones was an outlier among the quarterbacks chosen in the first round of the draft.

But the Patriots were in love with his conscience, his constant improvement and his mastery of the offense. In the preseason, he completed 36 of 52 passes for 388 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m going to be ready whenever my time comes,” Jones said Sunday night.

That moment has come, and against the Dolphins in Week 1, he will most likely start against the player he succeeded in Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa. Newton could be attractive to teams with volatile save situations, including the Jets, Dallas, Houston and Washington. But it is also possible that his vaccination status will deter other teams from signing him as they do not want to risk disrupting their season.


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