Bill Belichick says cutting Cam Newton from New England Patriots had nothing to do with vaccination status
- The New England Patriots cut Cam Newton and made Mac Jones starter
- Newton has not disclosed his vaccination status, saying it is too personal
- But Belichick denied it played any part in the Patriots’ decision to move on
- In Jacksonville, head coach Urban Meyer said vaccination status was a factor
- But the NFL Players Association launched an investigation following his remarks
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said cutting quarterback Cam Newton had nothing to do with his vaccination status.
Newton, who started all three of the Patriots preseason games, missed three practices last week following what the team called a ‘misunderstanding’ over Covid protocols.
The 2015 MVP is yet to confirm whether he has been vaccinated, saying the decision is too personal to reveal.
Cam Newton was released by the New England Patriots as they trimmed their roster to 53
But on his return to the team last week he undertook a five-day programme which only applies to unvaccinated players.
In his absence, rookie Mac Jones excelled and was named starter yesterday as the Patriots cut their roster to 53 players.
Asked if Newton’s vaccination status had anything to do with the decision to release him, Belichick replied: ‘No.’
‘No, I mean, look, you guys keep talking about that… but the number of players and coaches and staff members that have been affected by Covid in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number, so I wouldn’t lose sight of that.’
Belichick was adamant that the decision to cut Newton was not based on his vaccine status
The NFL revealed that of the 7,190 individuals tested between August 1-21, 68 players and staff tested positive for Covid-19.
Positive tests among unvaccinated personnel were seven times higher than those who had been vaccinated.
Of the choice to go with Jones ahead of Newton, Belichick called it a ‘very competitive situation’.
‘Both players took pretty close to an equal number of repetitions in total between practice, games, going all the way back to the spring,’ he said.
Belichick handing the starting job to Mac Jones, the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft
Meanwhile in Jacksonville, head coach Urban Meyer said the Jaguars did take vaccination status into consideration ahead of roster cuts.
‘Everyone was considered,’ Meyer said on Tuesday. ‘That was part of the production, let’s start talking about this and also, “Is he vaccinated or not?” Can I say that that was a decision-maker? It was certainly in consideration.’
Urban Meyer said he did consider vaccination status when considering cuts on Tuesday
After the NFL Players Association launched an investigation following Meyer’s comments, the Jaguars attempted to calm the situation, saying in a statement: ‘Availability is one of the many factors taken into account when making roster decisions.
‘We have vaccinated and unvaccinated players on our roster, and no player was released because of their vaccination status.
‘Ultimately, decisions are based on a player’s ability to help the Jaguars win. We educate our players and respect personal decisions as it pertains to the vaccine. We want to keep our players, staff and families safe as we comply with protocols related to both health and safety and competition on game days.’