NFL postpones Patriots-Chiefs QB showdown after Cam Newton tests positive for virus

The newly minted New England Patriots quarterback will be on the COVID injured list for what was billed as a quarterback showdown

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Football’s Superman has found his kryptonite.

According to multiple reports, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and will be out for the team’s upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Soon after news broke of Newton’s diagnosis, the Patriots-Chiefs matchup scheduled for Sunday was postponed, making it the second Week 4 Sunday game to be postponed.

Members of the Chiefs organization have also reportedly tested positive for the disease, though no one was named. The game, however, is being considered to be played either Monday or Tuesday.

According to ESPN’s well-sourced Adam Schefter, the NFL is “more likely” to punt the matchup to Tuesday.

The weekend’s marquee matchup was expected to be a quarterback battle with the veteran Newton, 31, who was on the losing side of Super Bowl 50 in 2016 with the Carolina Panthers, versus the league’s reigning Super Bowl MVP in Patrick Mahomes, 25, who led the Chiefs to victory in the February championship game.

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The news broke Saturday morning, and immediately a deluge of #NotCam posts hit social media. The quarterback played nine seasons with the Panthers, compiling a 68-55-1 record, before he was released earlier this year while rehabbing from surgeries on his throwing shoulder and a Lisfranc foot injury. New Panthers owner David Tepper and new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule obviously wanted a restart.

Newton rebounded from the controversial release to sign with the Patriots for a one-year contract. Going into week 4 of the season, Newton has been healthy and surprised the league with his good relationship with the perpetually irritable head coach Bill Belichick, who coached Tom Brady and the Pats to six Super Bowl victories over the last 20 years.

The team’s current 2-1 record matches that of Brady’s, who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Patriots issued a statement Saturday morning saying an unnamed player was diagnosed for COVID-19 late Friday and is now quarantining. Those in close contact of the person have since tested negative for the disease.

Though the Patriots have so far not had any players previously test positive for the coronavirus, they did have a league-leading eight players opt out of playing the 2020-2021 season. Fortunately, none of them were quarterbacks and the Patriots have both Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham as backups on the main roster, as well as Jake Dolegala on the practice squad.

Cam Newton New England Patriots coronavirus
Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots looks to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans organization recorded eight new infections among players and several more among personnel this week. This week’s headline-grabbing outbreaks in new infections, which has also roiled the highest level of American government, has opened up questions about the continued viability of a football season outside of an NBA-like ‘bubble.’ Since the NBA revived its season in July after being suspended in March, the league has made its way through this week’s start of the NBA Finals without a single positive COVID-19 test among players, staff and team personnel in Florida.

The Titans vs. Steelers game scheduled for Sunday has been postponed to Oct. 25. Their Titans’ previous opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, have not had a positive test.

Newton has so far held up and is among the Patriot’s most steady players thus far. His stats through the first 3 games were 62-of-91 for 714 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He also had 35 rushes for 149 yards personally scoring 4 touchdowns and has received rave reviews for his work ethic and will to win from teammates, staff, and even Belichick. He praised Newton on a call with media on Friday.

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“Cam does a great job of connecting with everybody, whether it’s his teammates, his receivers, guys on defense, other people in the organization,” Belichick said. “Again, I think the captain voting – not that that’s the ultimate or final determination of leadership – but I think the fact that he has been here a pretty short amount of time and earned that type of respect and support from his teammates is pretty impressive.”

As far as who will play quarterback or if the Patriots will travel to or play the game in Kansas City, it’s all up in the air right now, per Shefter.

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