During the Buffalo Bills' Monday night romp against the New England Patriots, ESPN's broadcast showed a graphic outlining Cam Newton's alleged sleep schedule. Somehow, the Pats quarterback gets by on not even five hours a night, goes from asleep to out the door in 10 minutes, and does ... football stuff for 210 minutes before having coffee. Did Mark Wahlberg put him on to this regimen?
Newton was asked about his sleep situation after yesterday's 38-9 loss, in which he went 5-for-10 for 34 passing yards with 24 rushing yards and a touchdown before he was pulled in the third quarter (his stats would have been a little better but for Damiere Byrd's horrid dropped pass). Does the toll of waking up that early every day compound when your team still stinks? Obviously:
"That's been my schedule for 90% of the time I've been here, so you can kind of understand the frustration I do have when I don't have the outcome, because I'm sacrificing so much. You're talking to a person who hasn't seen his kids in three months," Newton said."Obviously, the contract is what it is. Submitting myself to this team is something I've been doing since day one. Being accessible. Yeah, it's frustrating. It makes you mad."ESPN
As Newton said, this has not been his season. In theory, the one-year deal he signed with the Patriots—for an amount which cornerback Richard Sherman called "disgusting"—gave him the chance to play for a consistently competitive team and the opportunity to show he had overcome the injuries that ended his time with Carolina. In reality, the Patriots are 6-9, Newton has thrown for only five touchdowns (but rushed for 12), and he isn't anywhere close to his MVP form. Not only has Newton made himself wake up at 4:20 every morning and kept himself apart from his family, but he also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this season and clearly struggled to get back up to speed in the wake of his infection.
All of this, as well as the eight Patriots players who opted out before the season, add up to a miserable year for a team struggling to reestablish itself after losing its franchise QB but keeping its grouchy coach. "It makes you angry knowing that to be a trusted teammate you first have to submit to authority and submit to what the coaches are asking you to do," Newton said. "I feel like I have done that. I'm not in the place of blame. I'm more or less venting right now because, yeah, I've sacrificed so much this year." Playing for Bill Belichick is demanding, but the payoff comes in the winning. When that payoff's removed, the process just sucks.