Did Cam Newton being unvaccinated factor into his release from the Patriots? New England Coach Bill Belichick was definitive in his reply Wednesday.

“No,” Belichick said during his morning press conference.

Newton was released Tuesday morning in the most shocking move of the NFL’s cutdown day. He missed five days of training camp, including three practices, after breaking the league’s COVID-19 protocols for players who are not fully vaccinated two weeks ago. His release coincided with first-round rookie Mac Jones being named the Patriots’ new starting quarterback.

Belichick did not mention Newton by name during his press conference Wednesday.

This summer, Jones established himself as the superior passer in practices and preseason games. Newton started all three preseason games, but turned the ball over in Sunday’s finale at the Giants and led the offense to a lower rate of scoring drives over the entire preseason than Jones.

In response to another question about Newton’s vaccination status, Belichick pivoted to discussing vaccine effectiveness within the league: “You guys keep talking about that, but I would just point out that – I don’t know what the number is, you guys can look it up, you have the access to a lot of information – the number of players and coaches and staff members that have been infected by COVID in training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number.”

According to NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, only 68 positive results surfaced from a group of 7,190 tested people between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21. Unvaccinated players tested positive at a rate seven times higher than those who were vaccinated.

The NFL has mandated that all coaches, executives and high-ranking support staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 this season. The vaccination rate among players hit 92.7% last week, according to the league. Including players, coaches, trainers, support staff and front office officials, several thousand league employees are now fully vaccinated, and there have been no reported cases of a fully vaccinated player being hospitalized with the virus.

MALCOLM PERRY, a former Navy quarterback. has been claimed off waivers by the Patriots, according to the NFL transaction wire.

Perry was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2020 draft. He played wide receiver and running back and also lined up as a wildcat quarterback in Miami. Now Perry is headed to New England, where Belichick is famous for trying to make the most out of players with unconventional skillsets – as well as his love of Navy football.

Belichick’s father, Steve Belichick, was a legendary scout and an assistant coach for Navy football for decades. Bill Belichick has maintained a reputation for his fascination with Navy football and is routinely linked to their players when they hit the NFL.

Perry was a prolific running quarterback during his time at Navy, which runs a triple-option offense that does not pass the ball much. In his rookie NFL season, Perry played in 10 games, catching nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown while also rushing the ball three times for five yards. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound Perry is on the small side for NFL receivers and will naturally draw comparisons to fellow QB-turned-WR Julian Edelman. However, Edelman was listed as an inch taller and heavier by 12 pounds.

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