The Patriots had a 72-hour run as crazy as any NFL team could have.
Just hours before the team traveled to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Sunday, it was reported Saturday morning that Cam Newton had tested positive for COVID-19 the night before.
The news would have players who care about their health and that of their families. The NFL also made the decision to temporarily postpone Sunday’s game and the Patriots travel plans.
“I think a lot of us just wanted to make sure we were healthy and not leaving anything to our families,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater told reporters after the game. Monday. “It was the main concern of a lot of the guys.”
After everyone else on the team tested negative multiple times over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the NFL rescheduled the game for Monday night. However, that meant the Patriots had to travel Monday morning from New England to Kansas City to play that same night.
Jarrett Stidham, who along with Brian Hoyer replaced Newton’s quarterback on Monday, spoke about how things have changed in the team’s preparation for the Chiefs.
“Starting on Saturday morning when we found out about the situation, we were really trying to understand not only the football, but primarily the health and safety of everyone in the building,” Stidham said. “It was kind of a push of when we had to change some things, do virtual meetings, and I thought we had done a good job of adjusting to the situation and making the most of it.”
Stidham also said Newton texted him over the weekend, saying “hey, whatever you need, I’m here for you.”
Patriots safety Devin McCourty said he realized how lucky he was to have access to all the tests he received for the coronavirus over the weekend.
“It gave me a real perspective on what everyone was going through in our country,” McCourty said. “I think about the people who don’t have the resources and what we’ve had in the last three days of testing. This test, this test, several tests, so many people in different communities just didn’t have that. As stressful on the nerves and everything that was going on, I think we still have a sense of security that a lot of people didn’t have.
“We have peace of mind with everything that is going on. With all the constant testing, with all this stuff, obviously it wasn’t perfect, but I think we had a lot more peace of mind. You’ve been going for the past two months and people are leaving their homes or buildings just to walk in their hallways or streets. “
The Patriots finally fell to the Chiefs, 26-10, on Monday night. Slater realized how different the experience of traveling and playing on the same day was, but didn’t want to use it as the reason the Patriots lost.
“It was unique. I will say that. It was unique, Slater said. “But I certainly don’t want to use it as an excuse, and neither does anyone else on this team. The first time I did this in 13 years, playing in the National Football League. But listen, whenever you get a chance to go out into the field, and they give you a uniform and a helmet, you go out there and try to make the most of it.
“That’s what we tried to do today. I certainly hope that is not something we will not have to do again. I know many of us are creatures of habit and our routines have been turned upside down. But again, I don’t want to use this as an excuse. We just haven’t made enough games today. It was a difficult outing for us.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was any concerns playing Monday’s game to which he replied: “I think we did everything right and what we are supposed to do. . So it’s in the hands of the doctors here.
Hoyer was tabulated to begin in place of Newton. However, he had one performance that saw him be benched for Stidham.
Hoyer completed 15 of 24 passes for 150 yards and one interception. He also made a fumble and a major blunder that cost the Patriots points at the end of the first half.
Like Slater, Hoyer didn’t want to use the strange situation as an excuse.
“I mean, look, this is what it is,” Hoyer said. “I think a lot of people in 2020 are going through a lot of crazy things, ups and downs. We signed up for it and that’s exactly how it went. Whatever the situation, it had nothing to do with these two games, I just have to do a better job.
Slater wanted to make sure to send his prayers to his teammate and thank those who were able to get Monday’s game to happen.
“I’ll say this, first and foremost, we pray for Cam and his health, and I hope he’s okay,” Slater said. “I would also like to thank the people at the Biological Reference Laboratory. We really appreciate all the work they have done to help us navigate this process.
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