Cam Newton throws a pass during a Patriots practice Friday in Foxborough, Mass. Newton reportedly injured his hand later in the practice. Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It seemed like momentum was there for Cam Newton.

The veteran was brought into a difficult 2020 season with the New England Patriots. He signed late in the offseason, missing all virtual meetings. When training camp started, there were no preseason games because of COVID-19. The results weren’t good for Newton or the Patriots. He set a franchise record with 12 rushing touchdowns, but struggled to throw the ball, and the team finished 7-9.

That’s why it was so important that Newton was present when offseason workouts started. That’s also why it was tough to see Newton suffer an injury on Friday during the Patriots’ sixth practice of OTAs.

The veteran quarterback suffered an apparent injury to his right hand about an hour into the day’s session. Newton didn’t leave the field, but didn’t throw another pass and watched from afar for the rest of the day.

For a quarterback who is trying to again win the starting quarterback job and get back on track, Newton needs all the reps he can get.

Newton could be seen flexing his hand and making a fist after leaving a throwing drill. It’s unknown when the injury occurred, but it’s possible Newton hit his hand on either a teammate’s helmet during 11-on-11 drills or a pad used by the staff to try to deflect a pass.

In his absence, Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham got more reps with the starters. Newton, meanwhile, finished practice by watching the team go through 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. The quarterback could be seen showing his right hand to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

“Oh, I’ll let him speak on that,” Agholor said when questioned about Newton’s hand. “You still feel him, man. That’s why he’s a great teammate … because he loves football. Even when he’s not physically taking any reps, you still feel his presence. That’s every week.”

If Newton misses morem practice time, it’ll be a tough setback for the former MVP who continues to impress coaches and teammates with his energy, work ethic and leadership.

“First thing I always knew about him was he loved the game of football and you see that when he steps out on the field,” Agholor said. “He has great energy. He loves football. He loves to work. I appreciate that about him and I love working alongside him.”

“He’s worked really hard and he worked hard all year last year,” McDaniels said on Thursday. “He was certainly in a point when he got here that was a unique situation, having really no experience and exposure to our system prior to training camp starting. I honestly can’t remember another time in my career where we’ve had a player that has done that. Even the rookies that get drafted, they get information prior to the end of the spring.

“So it was a unique scenario. He worked his butt off last year to do it and then he came back certainly this year at a much different position. He has a different grasp of the offense, a different understanding of the terminology.”

TRANSITION IS nothing new to Nelson Agholor.

After five seasons in Philadelphia, the wide receiver left the Eagles to sign as an unrestricted free agent with Las Vegas in 2020.

Now, after a year with the Raiders, he is on to New England where he’s joined a group of pass catchers that has a new look to it.

Gone are Julian Edelman, who retired earlier this offseason as the second-leading pass catcher in franchise history with 620, and Damiere Byrd, who moved on to Chicago after catching 47 passes with the Patriots last year.

Now there’s Agholor and fellow wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, a free-agent acquisition from San Francisco.

In Jonnu Smith (signed as a free agent from Tennessee) and Hunter Henry (free agent, Los Angeles Chargers), a couple of key additions were added to the tight end position as well.

No stranger to the Patriots, Agholor hauled in nine passes for 84 yards in the Eagles’ 41-33 win over New England in Super Bowl 52.

“We’ve known Nelson for a while, but having him here you certainly have a little different perspective,” Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said as the team continued organized team activities on Friday.

“He’s a smart kid, he’s got a lot of position flexibility and good skill and talent. Like everybody else learning from scratch, (he’s) learning a little bit of a new offense and some things, the way we call things and do things and all that. But (it’s) nothing that he or any other new player can’t handle. It’s just part of the process, but he’s doing well, (and it’s) good to work with him.”

The hope in New England is that the 6-foot, 198-pound Agholor will provide the offense with a deep threat, something he did last year in Las Vegas, where he had career highs in receiving yards (896) and yards per catch (18.7) on 48 receptions while matching his career best in touchdown receptions with eight.

It’s a challenge Agholor is willing to accept.

“I believe that your mindset has to be that you want to grow as a player,” the 28-year-old Agholor said.

“You want to challenge yourself, you want to become better than you were the year before, and that’s why you’re in this business. I don’t put pressure on myself. I just approach it as that’s what’s in front of me – an opportunity to grow as a player and just try to answer that challenge.”

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