Patriots should expect Superman version of Cam Newton when he returns

Cam Newton has been in COVID-19 limbo for 10 days. Provided he’s asymptomatic, he’s due to emerge from quarantine this week.

While he had an outside chance of playing Monday night, the original push-back date of the Broncos game, he has an even better shot with the game now moved to Sunday.

To this point, he reportedly hasn’t had two consecutive negative tests. But if he’s asymptomatic after 10 days, he’ll be able to play pending doctor approval. If he’s symptomatic, 72 hours must pass since he last displayed symptoms.

What should we expect when he returns?

Just a guess, but he’ll probably be a super-duper version of Superman.

Maybe that’s hyperbole, but it’s a prediction based on who he’s been, and what he’s continually striving to be.

Newton loves the big moments. He craves to excel with the spotlight on him, having a lot on the line.

And, coming back from COVID-19, as the likely triggerman for several other positive tests with teammates, Newton might want to atone, no matter how he contracted the virus, innocently or otherwise.

If he was motivated to resurrect his career before — and it showed in the first three games he played — he stands to crank it to another level when he returns.

Potentially, this is one COVID-19 aftershock that will benefit the Patriots. So the hope is Newton returns Sunday, along with Stephon Gilmore, who said he was “ready to be back in action” in an Instagram post Monday.

Newton has been asymptomatic throughout, per reports and his father, Cecil, who did an interview with North Carolina-based ABC 11 TV Sunday.

Cecil Newton sounded positive his son would prevail over the virus.

“I was asking him about his immune system and how he felt and whether the symptoms were like fever, chills, headaches, coughs, that kind of stuff,” he said. “He had none of the symptoms, so I think he’ll be able to combat his way through it.”

Naturally, Newton’s health comes first and foremost. Football doesn’t enter the picture, nor should it, until he’s clear of COVID-19, feels good, and can no longer spread the virus.

Not surprisingly, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick dodged the Newton question on his regular appearance on WEEI Monday.

“Any player that would come back to the team off the COVID (list) would have to have a medical clearance,” said Belichick. “So we’ll have to see how that goes.”

When he gets back on the field, Newton will give the Patriots a lot more certainty at quarterback.

He’s not a veteran stand-in like Brian Hoyer, trying to manage a game in order to back a win.

And he’s not Jarrett Stidham, who is trying to show he belongs in his second year in the league. Newton is the Patriots offense. He’s what the offense has evolved into post-Tom Brady.

While it’s far from being a finished product, Newton has provided enough of a tease that he’s capable of making the Pats a contender.

Cecil Newton said Sunday his son was “roaring to go play.” During the interview, he described the difficulty and angst Cam felt sitting at home watching his team against the Chiefs.

“We were close in the last game, Kansas City, that is, and I know it was kind of eating him to not be a participant,” said the elder Newton, “but you can’t compromise the safety of the team and other associates by being selfish and saying ‘I want to play and I can put somebody else at risk.’ We’ll be patient.”

Provided he is cleared by a team doctor, Newton should be able to play against the Broncos. By the time the Patriots take the field against Denver for a 1 p.m. start, it will have been 16 days since Newton’s initial positive test.

His father didn’t know how Newton contracted the virus, nor has he asked. It just “came out of nowhere.” But Cecil Newton seemed confident Cam would be fine and harbor no lasting effects.

Beyond the positive report from dad, Cecil was also asked about his son’s future. He noted Cam has been enjoying his time in New England.

“He’s a committed guy,” Cecil said. “The Patriots are growing on him, as I’m sure he’s growing on the Patriots. I do see some success. It depends on what happens this year as to whether that opportunity to be re-signed, that’s not in our decision-making.”

By the sound of it, there’s nothing imminent on the contract front with Newton, and that seems to be fine with both parties. Let the season play out, and then see if something can be worked out.

For now, the biggest hope is for Newton to be able to play Sunday. Having Superman return against the Broncos would be a bonus for the Patriots, considering the move from Monday night.

No doubt Newton will be poised to take advantage.

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