Cam Newton wants a shot at continuing his NFL career in 2021.
To that end, the veteran quarterback confirmed Sunday on his YouTube channel that he has been vaccinated against COVID-19. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that Newton had been vaccinated.
The New England Patriots released the 32-year-old quarterback before the 2021 season, handing the reins to rookie Mac Jones. The decision came after Newton missed three practices because of what the Patriots termed a "misunderstanding" of COVID-19 protocol. Bill Belichick later claimed Newton's vaccination status didn't factor into the decision to release the quarterback.
After being released, Newton said in early September that the Patriots released him because he was "going to be a distraction."
In Sunday's video, Newton emphasized he wants to join a team in 2021.
"Hell yeah I still want to play football," Newton said, per ESPN. "I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I've been doing since I was 7 years old."
To that end, Newton got vaccinated, which allows him to more easily sign with a club without having to isolate before joining a new team. Given the NFL's COVID-19 protocols, unvaccinated free agents are essentially sidelined at this stage. Newton noting his vaccination status is a signal to clubs that it won't be an impediment.
The question is which team might benefit from bringing in the veteran quarterback. Newton noted in Sunday's video the situation "has to be right," adding he's getting offers. At this stage of the season, there are few QB jobs open. And given the study and ramp-up time needed for the quarterback position, teams generally go with the players who have been in the building rather than import a fresh face.
The Seahawks also could be an option with Russell Wilson on IR. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that they have had conversations with Newton, but didn't elaborate on the extent of the talks, per ESPN.com.
Newton noted after his release that he was willing to be the backup to Jones. We'll see if that willingness extends to another club or whether Newton has to wait until 2022 to get another shot.