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Newton practices, status still up in air

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to practice Wednesday, although it remains unclear if the league's MVP will play Sunday against the Saints.

Newton took reps with the first-team offense after missing Monday night's loss to the Bucs with a concussion.

Coach Ron Rivera said Newton remains in the league's concussion protocol, and it's too early to know his status for Sunday's game.

"He looked good and threw the ball pretty doggone well," Rivera said. "He was involved in the plays that we had scripted for him and handled those very well."

Rivera said now the team is waiting "with bated breath" to find out how Newton responds today when he reports to work after his first day of practice in nearly two weeks.

"It's all part of the concussion protocol," Rivera said.

Newton, who usually talks publicly Wednesdays, was not available after practice.

Wearing a helmet and his red No. 1 practice jersey, Newton threw passes and joked with teammates in the huddle before taking snaps during the first 20 minutes of action that were open to the media. Newton threw the ball around and jogged during the half-speed portion of practice.

Carolina has lost three straight. But teammates said Newton's return — and the energy he brings with him to work — gave everyone a lift.

"Having the MVP back in your offense is a big deal," All-Pro center Ryan Kalil said. "It's tough especially the way that he's not been around here with the head injury. So anytime someone like that is able to come back, you are very excited."

DECKER TO IR: Jets wide receiver Eric Decker was placed on injured reserve with a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will have season-ending surgery. Decker was inactive the past two weeks after being hurt at Buffalo in Week 2, and the shoulder worsening at Kansas City the next week.

CHIEFS STAR CLEARED: Four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Justin Houston was examined by Dr. James Andrews on Oct. 3 and was given clearance to resume football-related activities with Kansas City. Houston has been rehabbing since February, when he had surgery to repair a non-functioning ligament in his left knee.

MUM ON TRUMP: Tom Brady isn't interested in answering any questions about Donald Trump. The Patriots quarterback was asked at the end of his weekly news conference how he would respond if his kids heard Trump's version of "locker room talk." Brady smiled and said only, "Thank you guys, have a good day," before walking away. Last year, Brady was spotted with one of Trump's "Make America Great Again" hats in his locker.

BENGALS: Tight end Tyler Eifert, who appeared to be on track to return from ankle surgery until he had a back issue last week, did not participate in practice.

BILLS: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins won't need a second foot surgery and could return late this season, NFL Network reported.

BROWNS: Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler still has discomfort when he throws but said he plans to play Sunday against the Titans. Kessler hurt his chest when he was hit hard in last week's loss to the Patriots.

COWBOYS: Wide receiver Dez Bryant was back on the practice field. He hadn't participated in practices the past two weeks because of a hairline fracture.

GIANTS: Defensive end and former USF standout Jason Pierre-Paul missed practice with a groin injury.

STEELERS: Former Florida State running back Karlos Williams, a rookie with the Bills last season, signed with the practice squad.

WASHINGTON: Tight end Jordan Reed did not practice and is being evaluated for a concussion.

Newton practices, status still up in air 10/12/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:06pm]
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