New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 later Friday night, making him unavailable for a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The current plan is for the two teams to face off on either Monday or Tuesday following a postponement, but which backup will lead the team into battle. According to reports, veteran Brian Hoyer will get the call.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport said that the expectation is for the former Michigan State quarterback to get the start when the game ultimately takes place. Second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham was the other option, but he was inactive during the most recent game, a win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Fellow reporter Albert Breer agreed and said that "it makes sense" to have someone with a decade of experience in the offense get the start.
Originally an undrafted rookie signee of the New England Patriots in 2009, Hoyer remained with the team as Brady's backup until 2012's training camp. He spent 2012 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals before joining the Cleveland Browns in 2013. He played well for the team during two seasons in Ohio but also struggled to remain healthy.
2015 was Hoyer's best as a pro. He started nine games for the Houston Texans and led the team to the playoffs. However, he struggled mightily during a 30-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans released him at the end of the season. Hoyer spent 2016 with the Chicago Bears and part of 2017 with the San Francisco 49ers before returning to the New England Patriots. He has remained with the team ever since and will make his first start against the Chiefs.
Hoyer isn't a flashy quarterback like Newton, but he does provide considerable experience throughout his career as a backup and starter. Now he will put this on display during a battle with the defending Super Bowl champions.
"Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19," the team said in a statement. "The player immediately entered self-quarantine. Several additional players, coaches, and staff who have been in close contact with the player received point of care tests this morning and all were negative for COVID-19.
"We are in close consultation with the NFL, as well as our team of independent doctors and specialists, and will follow their guidance regarding our scheduled trip to Kansas City and game against the Chiefs. The health and safety of our team, as well as our opponent, are of highest priority."