Sports

Cam Newton admits to rusty play after long COVID-19 layoff


FOXBORO — Like all previous opponents, Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore are putting COVID-19 behind them.

Neither Patriots star wanted to address their recent bouts with the coronavirus following the team’s 18-12 loss Sunday to the Broncos. Newton became the first Patriot to test positive for COVID-19 back on Oct. 2. His test was ultimately the first domino to fall in New England, where several ensuing practices were cancelled and Sunday’s game was postponed.

Four days after Newton was sidelined, Gilmore landed on the team’s COVID-19 reserve list, where he remained until last Thursday. That afternoon, he and Newton returned to the field for the Pats’ only padded practice of the past two weeks.

While Newton acknowledged his time away affected his performance against Denver, he declined to get into specifics of his experience with the virus.

“For the sake of where we are right now, I don’t think it’s beneficial for me to speak on that,” Newton said. “Obviously the performance today it showed a lot of — the time off showed. But yet like I said, I have to be better, and I will be better.”

Newton completed 17 of 25 passes for 157 yards and two interceptions Sunday. His first throw, a tipped screen pass, was picked off. He also ran for a team-high 76 yards, half of which came on a long fourth-quarter scramble that threw gas on smoldering hopes of a comeback.

Newton’s 13 days away from the team indicate he likely displayed symptoms of COVD-19 or failed to produce consecutive negative PCR tests within the first 10 days after his positive test.

“Honestly for me right now I’m just trying to move forward,” Newton said. “Obviously, respectfully that was two weeks ago. (I’m) still bitter over the game and just trying to focus on ways to just get better. Obviously everybody knows what the situation was, and it is what it is. And I just know for me here moving forward, I just got to play better football, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

Gilmore claimed he never experienced any symptoms, an assertion confirmed by his timeline. He was activated nine days after testing positive, meaning he must have produced consecutive negative PCR tests separated by 24 hours, per league protocols. Gilmore said he “felt great” running around Sunday and seemed to show no ill effects from his infection.

“I feel good. I’m just upset we lost the game,” Gilmore said. “I don’t really care about the situation that happened, but we had an opportunity to come out and play the game that we love and play for our teammates and we just didn’t get the job done today.”

Gilmore was hardly targeted by Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, though he did commit a third-down holding penalty in the red zone that revived a Denver drive in the third quarter. Gilmore brushed aside any notion that the team’s lack of practice time affected its performance. As for his infection, Gilmore said the fact he was able to play was the only thing …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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