Cam Newton is reportedly missing this week's game after testing positive for coronavirus, potentially putting Jarrett Stidham in line to start for the New England Patriots.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported early on Saturday that the former MVP had contracted the virus, one of the most high-profile football players to test positive.
"Patriots' QB Cam Newton tested positive and is out for Sunday's game vs. Kansas City, per @FieldYates and me," Schefter tweeted.
Yates added that Newton's infection potentially leaves the second-year Stidham in line to start for the Patriots, but New England had not yet announced how it would adjust for Sunday's contest when the team takes on the AFC-leading Chiefs.
Prior to signing Newton in the offseason, reports indicated that New England coaches were high on Stidham after he served as backup to Tom Brady in his final year with the team. As The Inquisitr reported this summer, there was a belief that Newton would need to win the job away from Stidham, who had initially been seen as holding the starting job.
"I've heard it now from A LOT of people close to the Patriots. They really believe in Jarrett Stidham," Fox Sports radio host Rich Ohrnberger wrote in a tweet that can be seen here.
"Like it or not, Stidham is not a cheap placeholder… he's the future."Newton's positive coronavirus test also comes amid one of the league's first team-centered outbreaks, with more than 15 members of the Tennessee Titans organization contracting COVID-19. As Yahoo Sports reported, the NFL was forced to readjust the schedule and move the game between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers to Week 7, giving both of them a bye this week. Major League Baseball went through similar scheduling difficulties when several teams were hit with a surge of cases, with some teams missing long stretches and forcing the league to make shifts and schedule a number of double-headers to make up the lost games. It's not clear how the NFL would handle a similar situation, as there is less flexibility in the 17-week football schedule. There are not yet indications that any of Newton's teammates are infected, nor is there information about just how long the former MVP quarterback could be out, though there were already some fears that he had been in contact with other players.
After missing the majority of last season due to injury, Newton had been steady through three games this season, leading his team to a 2-1 record and throwing for 397 yards in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.