‘It was just one mistake’: Cam Newton came to N’Keal Harry’s defense over his fumble against the Dolphins

"I think that one play overshadowed the production that he did have."

Foxborough, MA: 09-13-20: Patriots WR N'Keal Harry fumbles the football through the end zone after a reception and run, killing a New England drive. The Dolphins Jerome Baker defends. The New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins in the opening game of the 2020 NFL season at Gillette Stadium.   (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
N'Keal Harry's fumble at the goal line "overshadowed" the rest of his Week 1 performance, according to Cam Newton. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Cam Newton came to the defense of wide receiver N’Keal Harry — specifically over his fumble in the third quarter of the Patriots 24-11 win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 1.

Speaking to the media after practice on Wednesday, Newton said he feels like Harry’s performance against the Dolphins was “overshadowed” by his mistake.

“I spoke with N’Keal, and let’s just put a lot of things into perspective here: did he have a good game? Yes, he did,” Newton said. “I think that one play overshadowed the production that he did have. He bailed me out on a play, on an inaccurate pass that he came down with and got the first down. He did pretty good in the run game. He had a couple contested catches.

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“All that was kind of for not because a lot of people just focused on the fumble, and granted I’d be the first person to tell you that he knows, or he would be the first person to tell you, that he knows that’s unacceptable. But, obviously, when you just put things into perspective and you call an apple an apple, and a spade a spade, it was just one mistake.”

Newton reiterated that Harry, who the Patriots’ drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, is still young in his development.

“Him still being a young player, trying to come into his own, things like that will happen,” Newton said. “You just will want them to minimized as much as possible, but he’s making leaps and strides as everyone would expect him to be. He’s growing up into his best self and for him, after chatting with him, he knows he has to make practice game-like and that’s the only thing that you can imagine.”

With that, he also recognizes Harry’s value as a wide receiver. The two of them have grown close since Newton signed with the Patriots, and worked out together back in July before training camp started.

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Harry has even went as far as to call Newton a “big brother.”

“The thing that makes me and N’Keal even more close is I told [him] my spiel, obviously being in Carolina I’ve had a N’Keal in my life for as long as my career has existed,” Newton explained. “Being a high invested draft pick, dating back to Kelvin Benjamin to Devin Funchess, those young guys [and] me also being young at the time, too.

“Then you invest in Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, Christian McCaffery, so it’s nothing new to come onto a team and you have a young talent at reciever and trying to morph him into the best player that he could possibly be. I know that N’Keal is buying into not only my theory and methods, but also to the team’s as well.

“Plays like that are going to happen and we just hope that’s the only time that it will happen.”

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