NEW YORK -- The New England Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday in a surprise move which came as the NFL's roster deadline loomed.
Newton, who joined the Patriots in 2020 after nine seasons with the Carolina Panthers, had been expected to begin the season as New England's first choice quarterback.
However the 32-year-old was released by the team on Tuesday meaning that rookie Mac Jones will be handed the starter's jersey for the upcoming season, according to multiple reports.
In a statement on Instagram, Newton told followers not to "feel sorry" for him over the decision.
"I really appreciate all the love and support during the time, but I must say, please don't feel sorry for me," Newton wrote. "I'm good."
Newton had a mixed first season with New England last year, showing flashes of the form which helped him win the NFL's Most Valuable Player award in 2015 but ultimately failing to lead the team into the playoffs.
Newton finished the 2020 campaign with 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also added 592 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns.
Newton's departure paves the way for Jones to be given the chance to resurrect the Patriots fortunes.
The 22-year-old rookie was chosen by New England with the 15th overall pick in this year's Draft.
The Patriots decision to release Newton comes just hours ahead of the NFL's roster deadline on Tuesday.
Teams must submit their final 53-strong rosters for the upcoming season by 2000 GMT on Tuesday.
© Agence France-Presse