New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13:Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks with Cam Newton #1 before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick’s Wednesday press conference was not the farewell to Cam Newton many expected. During the 12-minute availability, which featured numerous questions about Newton’s release, Belichick didn’t say Newton’s name once.

Initially, Belichick was asked if the team considered keeping Newton as a backup to Mac Jones. “I’m not going to go through all the different things with any player on that,” Belichick said. “We’ll just leave it the way it is an go from there.”

Asked if releasing Newton was a difficult decision, Belichick replied “Well, I don’t rank them. We make decisions, and then we execute them and go on and take it from there.”

Belichick’s answers remained concise for the next few questions. Asked if the three days Newton missed last week impacted the outcome of the quarterback competition, Belichick simply stated, “I don’t know.” Then asked if Newton’s vaccination status impacted his release, Belichick responded with a definitive “no.”

“You guys keep talking about that,” Belichick continued. “I would just point out that — I don’t know what the number is – you guys can look it up, you have access to a lot of information – but the number of players and coaches and staff members that have been infected by COVID in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number. I wouldn’t lose sight of that.”

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