NFL

Panthers 'cautiously optimistic' over injured Newton

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

The Carolina Panthers are "cautiously optimistic" over the fitness of quarterback Cam Newton, who sustained an injury on Thursday.

Newton left the Panthers' game against the New England Patriots with a foot injury, and underwent further tests on Friday to ascertain the extent of the issue.

The 30-year-old had also undergone an x-ray on Thursday, with those scans coming back clean.

Panthers' general manager Marty Hurney offered a further update on Friday, describing Newton's injury as a "mid-foot sprain".

"Cam Newton has a mid-foot sprain in his left foot, and we are cautiously optimistic he will be ready for week one," Hurney said, as reported by The Athletic.

Even though the Panthers are cautiously optimistic, there has to be concern about how quickly Newton, who was sacked twice by the Patriors, can be back to 100 per cent fitness.

Speculation has mounted over whether the Panthers could make a move for Colin Kaepernick, who has been without a team since opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

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    The Patriots have decided to move on from wide receiver Brown. The team announced the move ahead of their Week 3 matchup against the New York Jets. Brown's release comes after multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced since he joined the Patriots less than two weeks ago. Brown has denied the allegations. He was released by the Oakland Raiders earlier this month after an offseason filled with drama. 

    "The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the team said in a statement. "We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

    Brown played just one game in New England. Coach Bill Belichick was pressed with questions about Brown earlier in the day and was not willing to give any details on the receiver's status.

    "I know there are questions about Antonio," Belichick said. "We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into, but I'm not going to have any comment on any off-the-field situations or questions on that. Anything about football, I'm happy to answer." 

    Brown was accused by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit, and a second unidentified woman has also made allegations of sexual misconduct against the receiver.

    He has strongly denied the allegations through his attorney but avoided answering questions directly during Patriots media availabilities.

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    "He felt pretty good at the end of the week," coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "But we don't want another setback. We want to make sure he's ready to roll."

    Newton re-aggravated a left foot sprain in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has not practised this week. He initially injured his foot during the preseason, forcing him to miss nearly a week of practice. The veteran was in a walking boot in the locker room on Thursday, but his prognosis beyond this week is not clear. 

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    The news comes after multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced since the wide receiver joined the Patriots 11 days ago following his release by the Oakland Raiders.

    Brown's former personal trainer accused him of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit, while a second unidentified woman has also made allegations of sexual misconduct.

    The 31-year-old has strongly denied the accusations through his attorney and he opted against discussing the matter further when he was questioned on Thursday in his first public comments since the allegations.

    It emerged late on Thursday that the anonymous woman alleges Brown has sent threatening text messages to her following the accusations.

    A statement from a Patriots spokesperson read: "The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

    In a post on Twitter, Brown wrote: "Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots."

    The Patriots signed Brown to a one-year contract worth up to $15million after he requested his release from the Raiders.

    His time in Oakland was defined by a series of sagas that overshadowed their preparations for the 2019 season. Brown's time on the practice field for the Raiders was limited due to foot injuries sustained by wearing incorrect footwear in a cryotherapy chamber.

    The seven-time Pro Bowler then became embroiled in a dispute with the NFL over his preferred helmet being banned on safety grounds, before a heated exchange with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock, for which he was fined, led to his Raiders exit.

    Oakland acquired Brown in March in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the four-time first-team All-Pro parting with the team that drafted him following an apparent breakdown in his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his lone game for the Patriots, a 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.

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    Newton aggravated a left foot sprain in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has not practiced this week. 

    The 30-year-old initially injured his foot during pre-season, forcing him to miss nearly a week of practice. 

    Kyle Allen, a second-year quarterback who went undrafted in 2018, will start in place of Newton, who was in a walking boot in the locker room on Thursday, though his prognosis beyond this week is not clear. 

    "He felt pretty good at the end of the week," coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Friday. "But we don't want another setback. [We] want to make sure he's ready to roll."

    Newton's absence comes after he struggled against the Buccaneers, completing just 25 of 51 passes for 333 yards and no touchdowns in a 20-14 loss.

    Allen has taken the first-team snaps all week to prepare for the possibility of Newton being sidelined. 

    The 23-year-old played in the final two games of last season, earning a start in the Panthers' season finale against the New Orleans Saints, leading the team to a 33-14 win. 

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