3:49pm: Newton is on track to be back this week. The Patriots activated their QB1 from their reserve/COVID-19 list.
2:59pm: The Patriots seeing their Week 5 game against the Broncos delayed to Week 6 may well allow them to have their starting quarterback on the field. Cam Newton is expected to practice Thursday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Newton learned Oct. 3 he tested positive for COVID-19, shelving him for Week 4 and delaying that Patriots-Chiefs game a day. The Pats then saw All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray test positive. Another positive test prompted the NFL to move the Pats’ Week 5 game, which would have featured Jarrett Stidham starting for New England.
The Pats will only have two days of full practices this week; they will not return to work until Thursday. Newton had yet to test negative for two straight days, a requirement to return to practice, as of Sunday morning. The new Patriots quarterback has navigated that part of the protocol and will be back in uniform. Newton was believed to be asymptomatic.
Prior to his coronavirus-induced hiatus, Newton had rewarded the Pats on their offseason move. Despite arriving in late June, Newton helped the Pats to two wins, had completed 68% of his passes and averaged 49.1 rushing yards per game. The Patriots only needing to play one game without Newton would obviously be a boon to their chances at returning to the playoffs, though the former MVP will also need to stay healthy — something he has not done since his 2015 MVP season — to maximize his new team’s chances at securing postseason entry for the 12th straight season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.