The Patriots will be without quarterback Cam Newton on Sunday as he’s tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.
Newton will miss the Patriots’ Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
New England is expected to move Newton to the COVID-19/reserve list. As a result, Newton will be isolated and won’t have access to team facilities, and will not allowed to have any direct contact with fellow players or team personnel.
It’s not clear who New England will start in place of Newton at quarterback. Jarrett Stidham is the projected starter, but he’s been third on the depth chart during New England’s games so far this season. Brian Hoyer has been Newton’s active backup through the first three games.
The Patriots confirmed a player tested positive in a statement, but did not mention Newton by name.
“Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19. The player immediately entered self-quarantine. Several additional players, coaches and staff who have been in close contact with the player received point of care tests this morning and all were negative for COVID-19,” the statement reads. “We are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance regarding our scheduled trip to Kansas City and game against the Chiefs. The health and safety of our team, as well as our opponent, are of highest priority.”
It will be a wait-and-see approach before we know when Newton will be allowed to rejoin the team. Once the player is asymptomatic, he can return once 10 days have passed since the initial positive test or five days have passed since the initial positive test, and the player receives two consecutive negative PCR virus tests at least 24 hours apart within that five-day period.
Considering the recovery time, it seems possible Newton’s Week 5 status could be in doubt as well. The Patriots are scheduled to face the Broncos in Week 5.
As for the rest of the Patriots, both ESPN and NFL Media are reporting this is an isolated positive test on the Patriots, and not a full team outbreak.
“Patriots have been doing mass testing and re-testing and, so far, there is no spread,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
However, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport made clear that the game between the Patriots and Chiefs may not be officially ready to go quite yet, adding, “Plenty of things needs to be figured out before the game is officially on.” The NFL will need to make sure this is an isolated incident before allowing these two teams to play and risking a bigger outbreak.
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