Morning sports update: Rodney Harrison compared Cam Newton to his own story with the Patriots

"This is the same situation that I was in."

Cam Newton in 2019. Mike McCarn / AP, File

On Thursday, Major League Baseball’s season got underway after months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first game, between the Nationals and Yankees, was called in the sixth inning after thunderstorms moved in. New York won, 4-1.

The Red Sox get underway this evening at Fenway Park against the Orioles. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Rodney Harrison on Cam Newton’s impact: Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison is one of the original success stories of the “Patriot Way.”

Arriving in New England as a free agent in 2003 following nine years with the Chargers, Harrison was highly motivated to prove he still belonged in the NFL. He helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls in his first two seasons, and would play six seasons in New England before retiring.


Now an NBC analyst, Harrison views newly-signed quarterback Cam Newton in a similar vein.

When asked by fellow NBC analyst Chris Simms if he’s worried about the 31-year-old Newton fitting in with Bill Belichick’s team culture, Harrison had an interesting reply.

“I don’t, Chris, because you have to think about it: Cam Newton is fighting for his football career,” said Harrison. “Forget about everything he’s done in the past, if he can’t beat out Jarrett Stidham first of all, he’s going to be a career backup. His career, like we knew it, is over.

“Cam Newton is more focused, more humble, more motivated than he’s ever been,” Harrison explained. “He’s more ticked off. This is the same situation that I was in. When you come into a new team and you have an opportunity to play for Bill Belichick, you have so much respect for who he is, what he’s accomplished, what he’s done. You just want to be a part of something great.”


As Harrison noted, Newton’s already accomplished so much in his career that he’s unlikely to be distracted by personal goals, allowing him to focus on the needs of the team.

“Cam Newton has made over $100 million, he’s been to the Super Bowl, he’s had All-Pros, and Pro Bowls and all those different things, he’s been the MVP of the league,” said Harrison. “Now you want to come in, you want to acclimate yourself to the system, and you just want to fit in. And I think Cam’s going to do a great job.”

Trivia: Since 2000, five Boston pitchers have started multiple Red Sox opening days. Can you name them?


(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: David Price, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Rick Porcello are not included in the group.

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On this day: In 2004, Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek exchanged words after the Yankees third baseman was hit by a Bronson Arroyo pitch. The interaction quickly escalated into a benches-clearing brawl between the two rival teams.

As Red Sox fans remember, the game ended in dramatic fashion. Trailing 10-8 going into the bottom of the 9th, Boston staged a comeback. It culminated with third baseman Bill Mueller hitting a walk-off home run off of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to seal a season-turning 11-10 win.


Daily highlight: LAFC forward Bradley Wright-Phillips scored with a scorching strike in Thursday night’s 2-2 draw against Portland. His tying goal even took out the MLS camera placed behind the net:

Trivia answer: Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Chris Sale.

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