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New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton during a game against the New York Giants, at MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, N.J., on Aug. 29.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Patriots released quarterback Cam Newton on Tuesday, clearing the way for rookie Mac Jones to open the season as New England’s quarterback, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced.

His release came hours before NFL teams are to reduce rosters to 53 players and brings an abrupt end to Newton’s stay in New England. Newton went 7-8 as the starter in his first season since Tom Brady’s departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New England finished 7-9 for the year.

Newton started each of New England’s three preseason games, but also missed five days of practice leading into Sunday’s exhibition finale against the New York Giants after a “misunderstanding” of NFL COVID-19 protocols. It required him to sit out a mandatory five-day waiting period for unvaccinated players after he attended an out-of-town doctor’s appointment.

Meanwhile, Jones was impressive throughout training camp, displaying an ability to lead the offence down the field and bounce back from mistakes. He’s also earned the respect of incumbent veterans.