Saying, “Hell yeah, I still want to play football,” free agent quarterback Cam Newton announced that he so badly wants to do so that he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus, something he had initially been reluctant to do.

“I still get that urge to go out and perform and do something that I’ve been doing since I was 7 years old,” Newton said in a video posted Sunday to his YouTube channel. “But also, it’s like, man, I’m so much more than just a football player. Respect me as such.”

Newton, the NFL’s MVP six years ago, said he has been contacted by teams but added that the ideal situation has yet to present itself. Another factor may be the injuries that have diminished his numbers over the past few years.

“Long story short, I’m just waiting for the right opportunity,” Newton said. “You’re probably asking yourself, ‘Don’t nobody want Cam?’ That’s a lie. I’ve been getting offers. But the realization of it is it has to be right.”

The 32-year-old appeared in 15 games with the 2020 New England Patriots but was released by New England just before this season began. He had missed three practices because of what the team said was a “misunderstanding” about coronavirus protocols that restrict unvaccinated players’ contact with teammates and call for fines for violations of those protocols. Coach Bill Belichick said at the time that Newton’s vaccination status wasn’t a factor in the decision to release him and that the team was moving on with rookie Mac Jones.

As the population of vaccinated players rose over the summer, Newton was reluctant to join them.

“The time I was on the team, the side effects really weren’t beneficial to me,” Newton said. “You know, you hear the side effects of achiness, pain, body aches, being nauseous or whatever.”

Now that he has been jabbed, he is just waiting for the “right opportunity” to arise.

“I got my vaccination card, I want to play football, and stop damn judging people if they do or if they don’t have the vaccination,” he said. “You have to do what’s right for you.”

He added that getting vaccinated is a “personal decision” that should be “respected as such.”

Six weeks into the season, he said he tells people who ask that he remains ready and eager to play football.

“I’ve sacrificed enough to be in a comfortable position to take care of my family,” Newton said. “It almost makes me feel bad for the guys who don’t do good with their money, but that’s a whole different story.”