Cam Newton makes good first impression with New England Patriots

Lawrence Guy remembers the first thing he thought when Cam Newton signed with the Patriots. The defensive lineman acknowledged that it’s probably what went through everyone’s mind: How’s this quarterback going to fit in?

Newton, 31, is an eccentric personality, and that’s putting it mildly. He wears what some would call funny hats and attire. He’s not afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve — especially on the football field.

The quarterback competition also was a consideration. How would Jarrett Stidham, who many thought was the heir to Tom Brady’s throne, and Brian Hoyer, who signed with the Patriots in part because he wanted to compete for the starting job, act with Newton in town?

So far, Newton has been met with rave reviews by his new teammates, who likely cannot wait to see what the Patriots’ offense looks like when pads are put on Monday.

“The dynamic he brings to the locker room and everybody embracing him is the best part. We’ve got a unique team here,” Guy said.

“Once he came in, he fit right in. I think Hoy and Stidham have welcomed him with open arms. They’re coming onto the field and you hear them talk and you see them throwing different plays and aspects out. It’s going to be one of those things we can’t wait to get the pads on and see pretty much how everything is rolling together with Cam being here, Hoyer being here, Stidham being here and how the playbook is going to come to life.”

The Patriots still haven’t had a true practice yet. Heading into this week, the team was working only on strength and conditioning. The closest they came to practices were a couple on-field walkthroughs.

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Cam Newton has earned high praise from some of his new New England Patriots teammates. (Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)

The players finally put on helmets and shells Wednesday but no contact was allowed. These practices are similar to organized team activities, or OTAs, and minicamps. That means that no one will have any real idea how Newton truly looks until pads are put on next week, but that hasn’t stopped players from raving about the veteran.

This offseason, fans have heard from the likes of receiver Julian Edelman, running back Rex Burkhead and offensive linemen Joe Thuney and Isaiah Wynn. All have been impressed with Newton’s presence. For one thing, he’s built like a linebacker, but more importantly, he brings a certain energy that fires up even fellow veteran NFL players.

“He’s a specimen for sure,” Edelman said. “When you first meet him, just his stature. The dude is large, put together well and he’s got a great energy. He’s got a great energy about himself. I was really impressed with his work ethic and his mindset.”

“He’s a big guy, for sure,” Burkhead said. “Just his physical presence.

“I’ve played against him a couple of times before. He’s always been a great player. Whether that’s just his versatility — his ability to run the ball or pass. He’s been able to do that at a high level for many years. He’s come in right away, head down, trying to pick it up as quick as possible. … His first [impression] has been great. He’s just trying to learn as much as he can and mesh and gel with the rest of the guys.”

“It’s been exciting,” Wynn said. “He definitely brings a good energy, a nice juice with it. It’s been good.”

New Patriots receiver Damiere Byrd spent three seasons with Newton in Carolina and said he was excited when he heard the news about Newton’s signing. He said he thinks Newton will fit in fine with the Patriots.

“Cam’s a football player,” Byrd said. “He adapts to the offense and I think that our coaches and our team around him will help him take strides and move forward and be the best player that he can be.”

Patriots players have been careful with their words about Newton. It’s hard to get a player to talk just about the former MVP without mentioning Stidham and Hoyer. No one wants to say who they think the Patriots starting quarterback will be. Of course, the fact that Newton is healthy and already rubbing off on his new teammates is all positive.

“Yeah, he’s been great. A lot of great energy,” Thuney said. “Just works hard so far. It’s been great to meet him and everything, and looking forward to seeing what happens.”

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