By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The Patriots handing the quarterbacking reins over to Cam Newton is, fairly clearly, a big step in franchise historical past. No group has ever been within the place to maneuver on from a 20-year quarterback with six Tremendous Bowl titles, three extra Tremendous Bowl appearances, and an unprecedented run of dominance atop the NFL.
But past simply the Tom Brady issue, the primary offensive snap of the season going into Cam Newton’s fingers is critical as a result of it is going to mark the very first time in Patriots franchise historical past that the Week 1 beginning quarterback is Black. In truth, Newton will develop into simply the second Black quarterback to ever begin a sport in Patriots franchise historical past. (Jacoby Brissett was the primary, beginning video games in Weeks three and four in 2016.)
Longtime Patriots captain Devin McCourty stated he’s excited to see this second, because it was one of many first issues that crossed his thoughts when the group signed the veteran quarterback.
“I imply, I believe it’s superior,” McCourty stated. “As quickly as he signed, I began enthusiastic about issues like that, and I take into consideration issues like that on a regular basis after I watch soccer. And completely different occasions, with [twin brother Jason’s] son, he’s four now. And he appears to be like at completely different quarterbacks and sees issues, or I consider different younger Black youngsters and rising up with the mindset of like, if you had been in Pop Warner and issues like that, a number of youngsters needed to be working backs or receivers. You had been by no means considered actually to be a quarterback. Or in the event you had been a quarterback, I really feel such as you had been extra instructed to run.”
Newton was requested about his new place in Patriots historical past, and he didn’t downplay its significance.
“Yeah, it’s an enormous deal. It’s actually an enormous deal,” Newton stated. “I perceive who I’m. I perceive being an African-American on this time, immediately, we’ve to be stronger and extra — you understand, sticking with one another greater than ever now. And but this can be a nice feat to attain. However yeah, on the finish of the day, we’ve gotta make certain we’re utilizing our platform for constructive causes, and that’s what I need to do. I need to show to folks that there’s extra to an individual than simply what you see on the outer degree. I’m an individual who bought second and third and fourth possibilities in my life, and but by way of all of it it ought to at all times be about what that particular person’s about, not how or what that particular person appears to be like like. And so long as I’ve this chance to impression and empower the group — whether or not it’s the Black group, whether or not it’s the white group, whether or not it’s the, it doesn’t matter what group it could be — I simply need to do my half as Samaritan on earth.”
Newton will hardly be the one Black beginning quarterback in Week 1 across the NFL. The opening evening sport options Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson at QB for Kansas Metropolis and Houston, respectively. Lamar Jackson of the Ravens is the reigning NFL MVP. Dak Prescott will likely be beginning his fifth season as Dallas’ No. 1 QB. Russell Wilson is a perennial MVP candidate for the Seahawks. Kyler Murray was the No. 1 total decide for the Cardinals in 2019.
It wasn’t at all times that approach, although, and Newton mirrored on what it was like rising up in Atlanta and having Michael Vick as somebody to attempt to emulate on the soccer subject.
“Man, pay attention,” Newton stated. “And I say this proud, like, extraordinarily proud. After I grew up in Atlanta, Michael Vick was my hero. Nonetheless to this present day, Michael Vick is my hero. Proper? I’m not too proud to say it. Vince Younger was my hero. Proper? Randall Cunningham was an individual that I knew, I didn’t get to essentially see him play rising up, however these forms of athletes — Donovan McNabb, African-American quarterbacks. Like seeing these guys play, it’s the principle purpose why I’ve this chance proper now. Daunte Culpepper, a number of them. I don’t need to not point out individuals who did the precise factor.
“However after I have a look at myself proper now, there’s a lot that I’ve to do in a way, proper? And never solely simply to guard our group, however roughly, as a father. My youngsters simply got here right here on the town immediately so I’m much more excited simply to dwell as much as their expectations. Yeah, they’re not at an age proper now the place their expectations are excessive or they know who their dad is or what their dad does. It’s roughly ultimately once they get to that age they usually’re well-hip to understanding who your dad is and the way he did sure issues. I need them to know I did it the precise approach, I used to be myself all through this entire time, I did proper by folks, I used to be good to folks, I used to be a respectful younger man. And thru all of it I believe I simply love that and need to take advantage of it. I do know I simply preserve saying that, however I can’t stress it sufficient.”
McCourty shared his pleasure for being part of this second, giving credit score to the numerous Black males who paved the best way for the present technology.
“I believe it’s an honor,” MccCourty stated. “It’s one thing that none of us ought to take flippantly, due to the historical past of our nation and various things which have occurred — whether or not it’s Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Invoice Russell. All of these completely different males who had been in entrance of us — you understand, Jim Brown — who’ve set nice examples, have actually paved the best way for you guys to report on one thing like that or for me to be in a sport that includes that has actually been set in entrance us by the boys who’ve traveled this path and have actually completed all the laborious work. And I believe it’s cool for us to reap a few of these advantages and nonetheless attempt to push various things ahead.”
Newton has spoken a number of occasions this summer time about prejudices he’s confronted all through his life and all through his profession. He’s said he has got down to simply be himself and let that change folks’s minds, and he’s grateful to have landed in such a high-profile spot after an offseason the place it appeared like no person needed him.
“And that is coming from an individual like pay attention, like two or three months in the past I used to be questioning a number of issues. So proper now, as I’m trying on the Gillette [logo] and the long-lasting emblem for the Patriots like … how can I lose? You already know what I’m saying?” Newton stated. “I used to be at my home simply understanding each single day, only for a second. And God’s put me on this place that I can’t take as a right. I prayed numerous nights, I meditated numerous days, I had a lot counsel from my supporting forged, from associates, household, family members, that simply had been like, ‘Man, preserve going, preserve going.’ I couldn’t go to the grocery retailer, I couldn’t decide my youngsters up from their daycare with out folks saying one thing.
“And but now, and simply to reply a query I used to be beforehand requested, you’re speaking about stress? That’s not stress to me. Stress is if you’re taking a look at your youngsters and also you’re saying you’re 31 [years old] and also you don’t know – like, you’re not able to retire however no person is looking your cellphone,” Newton continued. “That’s stress — if you don’t have management of your future. So for me, I’m elated, I’m excited, I’m all that and a bag of chips as a result of I knew that if God didn’t present favor over me, man, who is aware of the place I’d be proper now? And but by way of all of it, I’m going to smile by way of it as a result of I’m going to like this entire second.”
Newton made it greater than clear that regardless of his robust sense of confidence on and off the sphere, he stays grateful for what he considers his “fourth probability.” It’s not one which he’s seeking to squander.
“I simply bought rewarded one other probability and I’ve bought to do proper by it,” he stated. “So yeah, I’ve bought to do proper by this chance, I’ve bought to do proper by my group, I’ve bought to do proper by my youngsters, I’ve bought to do proper by the Black man that sees me that I’ll by no means meet. However I’ve additionally bought to do proper by the white man that sees me that I’ll by no means meet, too, however appears to be like as much as me and thinks so extremely of me. So all through all of it, man, that’s me, and I’m going to take advantage of it.”
You’ll be able to e-mail Michael Hurley or discover him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.