Baltimore Ravens

Fractured rib sidelines Panthers QB Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a hairline fracture in one of his ribs, and he was ruled out of the preseason finale, Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Coach Ron Rivera expects his team's most important player to be ready for the regular-season opener, Sept. 7 at Tampa Bay, but that certainly is not a guarantee.


"There is a lot of concern. This morning he came in, and he was very, very sore," Rivera said after Sunday's practice, one Newton watched while walking the sideline gingerly. "We expect him to get past the soreness the next few days and then be able to do a lot more as the days go."

Newton, who still is not 100 percent after offseason ankle surgery, took a knee to his back and rib area Friday after scrambling during the second half of the Panthers' preseason loss to the Patriots in New England. After going back to the huddle, Newton went to a knee and eventually came to the sideline, missing the next play. He finished the second quarter and played the opening series of the second half despite the injury.


Last week, the fourth-year player said, "I'm not a sliding type of guy," but it may finally be time for Newton to avoid the hits he so readily takes.

"He had a chance to make a play on it, he chose to tuck it and run, and one of the things he's going to have to learn is either dump it or slide," Rivera said. "That's him; that's who he is. He tries to get everything out of it, and it's unfortunate it was one of those fluke things that happened."

--The Panthers got a head start on this week's cuts before their Sunday afternoon practice. They released 10 players, including wide receivers Tiquan Underwood, Marvin McNutt and Kealoha Pilares. The only relative surprise was the trio didn't even make it to the second round of cuts.

Underwood, who was signed as a free agent in March, came in with high expectations, but he never turned into a consistent deep threat. McNutt struggled all summer, and Pilares didn't stand out after returning from a torn ACL that took away his 2013 season. His release leaves Newton as the only remaining player from Carolina's 2011 draft class.

A fifth-round pick, Pilares returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a rookie, but he caught just two passes his first two years.

"With a young guy like that and guy that's had success for you, you'd like to give the guy an opportunity to get out there early and see if there's some interest in who he is," Rivera said. "The door is never closed. We don't close the door on a lot of guys. He's one of the guys obviously the door won't close on depending on situations and circumstances."

The league deadline to cut down to 75 players is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, so the Panthers have four more cuts to make by then. Teams then have until 4 p.m. Saturday to shave their rosters to the 53-man limit.