CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Cam Newton is back in pads — dramatically oversized pads.
The Panthers' two-time Pro Bowl quarterback returned to practice Monday wearing a long, bulky flak jacket to provide added protection for his healing fractured ribs.
Coach Ron Rivera reiterated that he expects Newton to play in Sunday's opener against the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.
Newton went through drills as normal with the first-team offense and didn't appear to have any problems throwing during the 20 minutes practice was open to the media. It was his first practice since Aug. 22, when Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins stepped on his ribs in a preseason game.
Raiders choose rookie Carr as QB
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland's Derek Carr will start the opener against the Jets, becoming the first Raiders quarterback to start the first game of his rookie season.
Coach Dennis Allen announced Monday that Carr would be the starter for the foreseeable future ahead of Matt Schaub, who struggled in the preseason and has been hampered by a sore elbow.
Schaub was anointed the starter after being acquired in a trade from Houston in March but has been outplayed by Carr all summer.
"It's not an indictment on Matt Schaub at all," Allen said. "I feel very confident in Matt Schaub. I think it says more about we feel Derek Carr is in his progression."
Gronk back: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said he will play Sunday at Miami. "I'm superexcited," said Gronkowski, who missed the preseason as he completed recovery from knee surgery. "I won't have to see my teammates grind all week. (I'll) go back out there with them, get in the huddle, break the huddle with them." Gronkowski, who tore his right ACL and MCL on Dec. 8, was All-Pro in 2011.
49ers: Starting right guard Alex Boone passed his physical and rejoined the team a day after agreeing to a restructured $6 million, two-year contract, ending his holdout.
Broncos: Wide receiver Wes Welker practiced for the first time since sustaining a concussion on Aug. 23, donning a bigger helmet and running short routes during the 20-minute viewing period open to the media.
Giants: Middle linebacker Jon Beason practiced for the first time since missing training camp with a right foot injury and said he hoped to play Monday night in Detroit.
Rams: Rookie defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL draft choice, was not among the 10 players named to the practice squad.
Titans: Ryan Succop agreed to a one-year deal as the team chose a veteran kicker rather than undrafted rookie Travis Coons. Succop, released by the Chiefs, will see his old team as Tennessee visits Kansas City in the season opener.