Patriots quarterback Cam Newton said he is excited to make his first appearance for the iconic NFL franchise, playing down any nerves ahead of the showdown against the Dolphins.
Newton will debut for the Patriots on Sunday after signing a one-year deal following his release from the Panthers in March.
The 2015 NFL MVP is filling the void left by Tom Brady in New England after the legendary quarterback’s move to the Buccaneers.
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Newton has been hindered by injuries in recent years, with the 31-year-old limited to just two games in 2019 following a Lisfranc fracture.
“Excitement level is on 1,000,” Newton, entering his 10th NFL season, said Thursday. “I’m excited, happy. Just to get back into the rhythm of game week — the preparation, the little nuggets that you can often forget.
“You have to remember, I’ve been away from football, really, for a full year. I haven’t really had this whole process for a long time now, so being around, taking notes, watching film, finding out about different players each and every day, locking in.
“[I’m] excited about the game plan and more excited about just trying to get in a routine with the newness of the play-calling, the coaches and even the players.”
Asked if he still experiences nerves before season openers, Newton joked: “I don’t get butterflies. I give ’em.”
“I’ve been playing in a lot of games in my life, a lot of opening days, to a lot of impactful, meaningful games, and at this particular point in my career I know how to control myself,” he said.
Newton added: “Right now, I’m in a happy place, I feel motivated, I feel a lot of great emotions that are going on and not hindering me from becoming my best self.
“Yet through it all, I like it most that I’m just a piece to a puzzle. I don’t want to be the puzzle. I try my best daily to prove my worth to this team and understand there are a lot of guys here who are depending on each other, and I want to be a person the team and these coaches can trust and depend on.
“Two or three months ago, I was questioning a lot of things. Right now, as I’m looking up at Gillette [Stadium] and the iconic logo for the Patriots, like, ‘How can I lose?'”
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