<
>

Bill Belichick, Patriots players extinguish hype around Cam Newton

play
Will Cam Newton earn the starting QB position? (0:52)

Mike Reiss reports on Bill Belichick's first news conference since the Patriots agreed to terms with QB Cam Newton. Belichick said the starting job does not automatically go to the former Panthers quarterback. (0:52)

Often when a team signs a big-name free agent to a contract, there is an introductory news conference to acknowledge the addition shortly thereafter. That usually sparks excitement about what is to come.

The New England Patriots, however, don't often operate out of that playbook, not even when it comes to quarterback Cam Newton.

Consider that the NFL's 2015 Most Valuable Player agreed to a one-year deal on June 28 and the team officially announced it July 8, yet the next time Newton -- one of the league's most recognizable players -- is front-and-center in a traditional media setting will be his first as a Patriot.

That might come Friday, and the fact that it has taken this long highlights one of the NFL's most compelling storylines: how coach Bill Belichick's all-business, suppress-the-hype approach will mesh with Newton's alpha, hype-it-up personality. Even Newton was curious about that when he first learned of the Patriots' interest.

The past few days have shined a spotlight on the compelling dynamic.

When Belichick met with reporters Friday for the first time since the NFL draft, he opened with a fairly lengthy statement and didn't reference Newton's signing. Then, any time he was asked about Newton, Belichick made it clear that Newton's situation -- and the void to fill at quarterback following Tom Brady's free-agent departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- is viewed no differently than that of any other player or position on the team.

When asked what appealed to him about Newton, Belichick wasn't interested in pumping his tires based on past accomplishments. Instead, he spoke in general terms about the considerable time the sides spent together before reaching a contract agreement.

"I'm glad it worked out," Belichick said. That was as far as the praise went.

When the Patriots kicked off the official player media availability of training camp on Sunday -- offering captains David Andrews, safety Devin McCourty, special-teamer Matthew Slater and running back James White to answer questions -- the players were working off a similar script.

They all made sure to mention not just Newton but also fellow Patriots quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Brian Lewerke.

"It's going to be an exciting year for us," Andrews said. "I'm excited, especially with the guys and the talent we have in that room. Cam obviously has played a lot of football and had a successful career. I'm excited to see what all our quarterbacks can do. They all bring something different to the table."

Added White: "I haven't got a chance to talk to Cam, but I know he's a very competitive, very good football player. I'm excited to have him in the locker room. We have three talented quarterbacks on this football team, guys who can go out and compete and help us get wins. ... We will all be competing for playing time."

Over the past two days, the Patriots have tweeted photos and video of players arriving at the facility and running on the field. Newton was not included.

Coincidence? Not for Belichick's Patriots.

As for how Newton is embracing it, the answers could come from him later this week.

Maybe.