Morning sports update: Rodney Harrison explained why Cam Newton is the ‘key’ to the 2020 Patriots

"He has to play well for them to have a chance."

Cam Newton in 2019.
Cam Newton in 2019. –Mike McCarn / AP, File

It’s a big day in New England sports. Tonight, the Celtics begin the playoffs with Game 1 against the 76ers at 6:30 p.m.

The Bruins play the Hurricanes in Game 4 of their series at 8 p.m.

The Patriots have their first training camp practice with pads as they finally get fully underway in preparing for the 2020 NFL season.

The Red Sox conclude their series against the Yankees, looking to break a seven-game losing streak following Sunday’s 4-2 loss. Boston’s losing streak to New York is up to nine games, the longest it’s been since 1952-1953.

And the Revolution, who resume the regular season this Thursday against the Philadelphia Union, made a pair of trades on Monday morning.

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Rodney Harrison’s view of Cam Newton: Months before Cam Newton signed with the Patriots, former New England safety Rodney Harrison was predicting it would be a “great situation” for the 2015 NFL MVP.

Now that Newton is officially with the Patriots, Harrison is taking a closer view of the possibilities for the 2020 season.

“I think Cam is the key,” Harrison told Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian. “Not just if he can stay healthy. He has to play well for them to have a chance.”

As Harrison knows, having been a part of multiple Patriots Super Bowl teams, a New England team without Tom Brady is in unknown territory.

“For so long, they’ve had stability at the quarterback position,” he said. “This is the first time in two decades they haven’t had that. They have new guys that have question marks, question marks about whether they can play. Can Cam stay healthy, and still play at the level everyone is used to seeing him play? And there’s questions about the young kid [Jarrett Stidham]. Can he play at all?”

The Patriots are officially underway in training camp, and will begin the regular season on Sept. 13 against the Dolphins.

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Trivia: Who is the only Patriots running back to ever cross the 1,500 yard rushing threshold in a single season?

(Answer at the bottom.)

Hint: He was acquired in a trade for a second-round pick, having never played in an NFL playoff game prior to arriving in New England.

More from Boston.com:

Sean Kuraly on his knack for scoring playoff goals:

The Patriots had four players in for tryouts, including two tight ends:

On this day: In 2016, Americans Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali, and Kristi Castlin swept the podium in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics.

Daily highlight: The Red Sox are struggling, but Alex Verdugo is an undeniable bright spot thanks to plays like this.

Trivia answer: Corey Dillon in 2004

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