The writing was on the wall for the better part of the summer that Cam Newton was going to eventually be named the starter under center in New England. The more surprising development in Newton’s transition to Foxborough, however, was that he was also named a team captain, signifying that he’s quickly earned the respect from the rest of his teammates in the locker room. During Sunday’s 21-11 win over the Dolphins in the opener, there was a glimpse of how Newton has endeared himself to his new teammates and why they’ve quickly grown to view him as a leader. 

With 10:14 remaining in the third quarter, Newton capped off a 75-yard drive by rushing for his second touchdown of the day. Upon crossing the end zone, the quarterback handed the ball to starting center David Andrews to spike. Andrews was playing in his first game back since missing the entire 2019 season after it was revealed that blood clots were in his lungs, putting his NFL career in jeopardy. He was able to return to action and was quick to return to his dominant ways, helping the Patriots rush for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the opener. The spike was just the cherry on top. 

“It was awesome, and you know you have to love watching that guy play the game and seeing all of the work that he has put in,” Andrews said of Newton handing him the ball. “I am super proud of him and we had some fun out there today.” 

Newton noted postgame that he gave Andrews the ball to spike after that second score because he was in a similar position to him missing all of last season as well. He also wanted to prop up the often unsung offensive line. 

“Dave is a person who was kind of in my boat, a person that has been out of football, and for him to enjoy that just as much as I’ve been enjoying just being a witness of how he works, how he, his whole presentation, how he shows up each and every day, how he practices,” said Newton. “And he was the first person that I saw, so I knew he would enjoy that. A lot of times, having your hand on the ground, you don’t necessarily get the recognition that’s deserved. But none of what happened for me today would not have happened without those big guys up front.”

Andrews’ last meaningful game before Sunday was New England’s win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII so it’s been quite a while since he last suited up. That said, Andrews didn’t show much rust and played 100% of the offensive snaps in the opener. 

“David Andrews has worked extremely hard to get back from what he had to come back from last year,” said Julian Edelman. “It feels like he hasn’t even missed a beat and that just shows you the kind of player, teammate and captain he is. He’s worked his tail off to come back and help that line and it was awesome to see him out there compete.” 

It’s a tremendous comeback story for Andrews after a scary situation last year and this gesture by Newton also shows how quickly he’s developing into a key leader within the Patriots locker room. 

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