Cam Newton says he has been vaccinated against contracting COVID-19 and is ready to return to the NFL.

The quarterback who was cut by New England just before the season began published a video on his YouTube channel saying it’s time to get back into pro football. He is a free agent.

“Hell yeah, I still want to play football,” Newton said in the video. “I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old.”

The 2015 NFL MVP was the Patriots’ starter for most of 2020, when they went 7-9 during a pandemic-impacted season. But New England went with first-round draft choice Mac Jones this year and released the 32-year-old Newton.

There were COVID-19 related issues for Newton last season, and he was absent for three preseason practices this summer in what the team termed a misunderstanding about protocols.

Newton was not vaccinated when he was released, but says he now is. He added that “side effects weren’t beneficial to me” for not getting the vaccine, but was not specific about those side effects.

COWBOYS: Dak Prescott promised not to miss any time after straining his right calf on the touchdown pass in overtime that gave the Dallas Cowboys their first win at New England since 1987.

The star quarterback believes he can deliver on that vow because the team is going into its open week. Even with the break, recent history with his teammates suggests Prescott’s view is optimistic.

Receiver Michael Gallup hasn’t played since the opener because of a calf strain. Four-time All-Pro Zack Martin missed the final five games last year after playing through one. He was injured in practice and aggravated the strain 10 days later, in the second game since the injury.

Prescott needed help getting to the locker room after the dramatic 35-29 win over the Patriots and wore a walking boot to the postgame meeting with reporters. An MRI was planned Monday.

BROWNS: Running back Kareem Hunt will likely miss more than a month with a “significant” calf injury sustained in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, one of numerous injuries to key players on Cleveland’s roster.

The Browns (3-3) were already missing star running back Nick Chubb with a calf injury and then lost Hunt in the fourth quarter.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said that Hunt will likely go on injured reserve, which would mean he would have to miss at least three games. Stefanksi said Hunt’s injury is more in the “ballpark” of four to six weeks.

Stefanski has not ruled out Chubb for Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos (3-3).

Stefanski is also awaiting more medical test results on quarterback Baker Mayfield’s left shoulder. He reinjured his shoulder against the Cardinals and left FirstEnergy Stadium with his arm in a sling.

VIKINGS: Cornerback Patrick Peterson was placed on injured reserve on Monday after hurting his hamstring against Carolina and must miss a minimum of three games.

Coach Mike Zimmer said the injury was not believed to be season-ending, so the 11-year veteran Peterson will be expected to return at some point during the second half of the schedule.

The Vikings (3-3) have begun their bye week, but the absence of their best cornerback will be felt with a daunting group of opposing quarterbacks waiting for them after the break. They face Dak Prescott (Dallas), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore), Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay) in their first four games after the bye.

FALCONS: The Atlanta Falcons placed right tackle Kaleb McGary on the COVID-19 reserve list, while top receiver Calvin Ridley returned to practice after skipping the team’s last game for personal reasons.

McGary, a first-round pick in 2019, has started 34 of 35 games over his three-year NFL career.

He likely won’t be available when the Falcons (2-3), coming off a bye week after playing a game in London, travel to Miami to face the Dolphins (1-5) on Sunday.

Atlanta activated offensive lineman Josh Andrews from injured reserve. He rejoins the roster after going down in training camp with a hand injury.

SEAHAWKS: The Seattle Seahawks say tests on linebacker Darrell Taylor’s neck have come back clear and are not ruling him out of playing next Monday against the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Pete Carroll said that both a CT scan and an MRI have shown that Taylor does not have an injury to his neck and may have suffered more of a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh.

“He got jammed pretty good. We’ll have to wait and see what it’s like, but it may be a little bit more in his shoulder even as we figure it out,” Carroll said.

Taylor was taken off the field on a backboard during a lengthy fourth-quarter delay as a precaution after his neck was compressed in a collision. Carroll said Taylor was upset at having to be immobilized and wanted to jump up and walk off the field on his own.

Taylor was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital following the injury, but was cleared to fly home with the team after the game.

“Whenever they take a guy off like that the threat is so huge,” Carroll said. “He came out great, so we’ll hope for the best and he may have a chance to go this week.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.