FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Cam Newton has mostly struck a positive chord in his first year with the New England Patriots, but after another frustrating performance in which he was pulled midway through the third quarter of a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills, he vented.
Newton was asked about a graphic on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast that showed he woke up each day at 4:20 a.m., left his home at 4:30 and didn’t retire for the night until 11:30 p.m.
“That’s been my schedule for 90 percent of the time I’ve been here, so you can kind of understand the frustration I do have when I don’t have the outcome, because I’m sacrificing so much. You’re talking to a person who hasn’t seen his kids in three months,” Newton said.
“Obviously, the contract is what it is. Submitting myself to this team is something I’ve been doing since day one. Being accessible. Yeah, it’s frustrating. It makes you mad.”
Newton is playing on a one-year deal with a minimum base salary of $1.05 million. The contract includes incentives and bonuses that will ultimately increase its value by approximately $2.6 million.
On Monday night against the Bills, he finished 5-of-10 passing for 34 yards, while adding four rushes for 24 yards, which included a 9-yard touchdown on a scramble play.
Coach Bill Belichick pulled him with 8 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter, with the Bills leading 31-9.
“Cam did a good job for us. I mean, that wasn’t the problem,” Belichick said of the decision to turn to second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. “We weren’t very competitive in the game.”
In fairness to Newton, he threw a perfect downfield strike to wide receiver Damiere Byrd on the first drive of the game that Byrd dropped. The play highlighted how the Patriots’ issues go well beyond Newton himself, as their wideouts and tight ends have been among the least productive across the NFL this season.
But Newton acknowledged that he can also play better.
“It’s extremely frustrating, knowing what you’re capable of, having belief in yourself. It’s just not showing when it counts the most,” he said.
Belichick said he hasn’t decided his quarterback plans for the season finale on Sunday against the visiting New York Jets.
Of Belichick’s support to this point, Newton said: “The feeling is mutual. I will keep getting better each and every week, getting more comfortable in this offense for the last week that I possibly can. Let’s see where it gets me.”
But his frustration was palpable late Monday night.
“It makes you angry knowing that to be a trusted teammate you first have to submit to authority and submit to what the coaches are asking you to do. I feel like I have done that. I’m not in the place of blame. I’m more or less venting right now because, yeah, I’ve sacrificed so much this year,” he said.
“I mean, it hurts when you have the outing that you have tonight, just to go home, then start it over for a whole another week.”