By Mike Weiss, ESPN
(ESPN) FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton has tested positive for the coronavirus and is out for the team’s Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates.
“Late last night, we received notice that a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19. The player immediately entered self-quarantine,” the Patriots said in a statement Saturday. “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.”
The NFL said in a statement Saturday that there were “positive COVID-19 tests on both teams.” As a result of the positive tests, the NFL said Sunday’s scheduled game will be played either Monday or Tuesday. A source told Schefter that “Tuesday is more likely.”
Chiefs practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu tested positive, a source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report. Ta’amu serves as Kansas City’s scout team quarterback and played the role of Newton in preparation for this week’s game.
The Patriots are set to have a virtual team meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday, sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
With Newton out, the Patriots will need to find a new starting quarterback. Veteran Brian Hoyer has served as the Patriots’ No. 2 quarterback through the first three weeks of the season, and 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham has been third on the depth chart.
This marks the first time this season that the Patriots have been affected by the coronavirus. Up to this point, they hadn’t placed a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Coach Bill Belichick had previously said that the Patriots, who also have quarterback Jake Dolegala on the practice squad, are fortunate to have good depth at the position.
Newton has been one of the Patriots’ top performers during the team’s 2-1 start. He’s 62-of-91 for 714 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions, and has added 35 rushes for 149 yards and four touchdowns.
Earlier this week, with news of the Tennessee Titans‘ coronavirus outbreak, Belichick had said: “We monitor everything every day. We don’t just do it when there’s a problem or something comes up somewhere else. We do it on a daily basis and make everyone aware — because this is everybody. It’s not just players; it’s players and coaches and staff and everybody else. If we can do something better, then we talk to them about how we can do it better. So we try to monitor it the best we can, and we, I think, are pretty vigilant with all of us.”