Cam Newton, New England Patriots
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Patriots QB Cam Newton says it’s time to ‘put-up or shut-up’

After a difficult first season with the New England Patriots, Cam Newton inked a one-year contract to return for another campaign.

Despite being back in the fold, Newton’s standing with the franchise may be on a much shorter leash with the Patriots. The former league MVP underlined the pressure he’s facing heading into the 2021 season, voicing to ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin on Thursday that it’s a make-or-break year.


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“I know who I am,” Newton said via Mike Reiss of ESPN. “At times, I do remind myself people forget who you are, and what you’ve done. So now I’m in a position where I need to be my best self. It’s really put-up or shut-up time.”

Cam Newton will begin the season as the starter, but the presence of rookie Mac Jones certainly changes the dynamic. The Patriots’ uncharacteristically selected a quarterback in the first round for the first time since Bill Belichick took over as head coach.

Newton’s struggles last year could be underlined by the lack of significant talent around him, along with him dealing with lingering effects from his shoulder surgery. The 32-year-old is likely receiving his last chance to prove he can be an effective starting NFL quarterback.


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He will benefit from holding one year under his belt in the Patriots’ complex offense and having an entire offseason to build chemistry with his teammates. The Patriots also added more talent to the mix with tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, along with wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.

The pieces are now in place for Newton to take a significant step forward to proving he still has plenty left in the tank.

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