Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers said Andrew Luck deserved a standing ovation after the retiring Indianapolis Colts quarterback was booed by his own supporters.

Luck announced his shock retirement on Saturday – the same day as the Colts' 27-17 NFL preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

The four-time Pro Bowler was in attendance as reports of his decision emerged prior to Luck making it official and Colts fans were not happy.

Some Colts fans decided to boo Luck when the 29-year-old star left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On the boos, Packers quarterback Rodgers told reporters on Monday: "I thought it would've been more of a standing ovation type thing and a thank you than boos.

"I said it this morning. I 100 per cent respect him immensely for his decision. I salute him for choosing quality of life, and he's a fantastic player. He had a great career and he's got a lot to be proud of.

"I'm excited for him, and I think actually what he did is very selfless."

Rodgers, though, was critical of how Luck's plans were leaked.

Luck had initially planned to make his retirement announcement on Sunday but was forced to move his timetable up after reports began to surface about his intentions.

"He's making a really tough decision," Rodgers said. "I don't know why that doesn't stay in-house. You've got to protect him a little bit."

Luck spent seven years with the Colts after being drafted with the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and won Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Luck said during Saturday's news conference that the boos he received "hurt".

Andrew Luck sent shockwaves through the NFL this weekend as he announced his retirement at age 29, shifting the focus of the final week of preseason to the Indianapolis Colts.

But life goes on elsewhere around the NFL as teams get ready to flip the calendar and turn their attention to the regular season.

Three things that matter

Colts need a new quarterback

It is widely assumed that backup Jacoby Brissett will take over the starting role now that Luck is gone, but coach Frank Reich and the Colts have yet to make him the official opening-day starter.

"We have not had that deep down heart to heart about the upcoming season just yet," Reich told reporters . "That will probably happen in the next day or two."

Reich acknowledged the team are in "good hands" with Brissett going forward and added the team will next determine whether Chad Kelly or Phillip Walker will move up the depth chart. It was also reported that Joshua Dobbs is drawing interest from Indianapolis if Mason Rudolph does, in fact, secure the backup job with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chiefs needed a quarterback too, after losing backup

After the Kansas City Chiefs learned Chad Henne would need surgery for his broken right ankle suffered in Saturday's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, the team signed former Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore for insurance. The 35-year-old has not played since 2017, but just like that, Moore is behind third-year gunslinger Patrick Mahomes. Similar to Henne, Moore is a 10-year NFL veteran who has thrown for 6,938 yards and 45 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions in 49 games, including 30 starts.

Odell Beckham Jr. a full go at Browns practice

The Browns receiver participated in team drills on Monday for the first time since early August, indicating he will likely be ready for week one when Cleveland host the Tennessee Titans.

"He looked good," Browns coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters after practice . "It's good to have him back out. We've been working on the side with him with other things. It's just the natural progression, so it was good to have him back."

Kitchens added that he does not want to overwork Beckham, who has been dealing with a hip injury, or quarterback Baker Mayfield as they continue to get comfortable, assuring "they'll definitely be on top of their game when we start game planning and timing".

Two things that don't matter

Matt Overton offers help to disgruntled Indy fans

The Jacksonville Jaguars long snapper, who spent five seasons with the Colts from 2012-16 and still lives in Indianapolis, did not think too highly of the fans that booed Andrew Luck off the field on Saturday as reports of his retirement broke. He took things a step further on Monday by offering a solution to Colts fans wanting refunds on their season tickets.

We will see if Overton's suggestion silences Luck's haters, but it has certainly drawn extra support.

Patrick Chung pleads not guilty in cocaine case

The New England Patriots safety also waived his arraignment scheduled for Wednesday on the possession charge. Chung's next court appearance will be a "dispositional conference" that is scheduled for November 8. He was indicted last Thursday by a New Hampshire grand jury on the charge, a Class B felony in the state that carries a fine of up to $2,000 and a potential prison term of up to seven years. Even if he is found not guilty of the charge, he could face discipline from the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

But that did not stop Chung from returning to practice with the team on Sunday after he was missing in action late last week.

One video you have to see

Ryan Shazier's appearance on the field ahead of the Steelers' preseason game against the Titans on Sunday was so remarkable, it was still being talked about the next day.

Monday's tweet of the day

Luck's retirement was the talk of Twitter for a solid two days, but apparently, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was unaware it happened this weekend, saying: "I didn't see that but I don't really follow them."

It was later clarified that Belichick meant he did not see Luck's retirement coming. Stay grumpy, Bill.

Carli Lloyd believes she could be a successful NFL kicker after going viral for making a 55-yard field goal while visiting a Philadelphia Eagles practice.

The United States women's national team star turned heads this week when she drilled a perfect long-range attempt, which she later said resulted in "some inquiries" from NFL teams.

Lloyd, a long-time Eagles fan, sat down with NBC Sports' Peter King for his weekly 'Football Morning in America' column to discuss how the impressive kick came to be.

"I love the Eagles. I've been an Eagles fan my whole life," Lloyd said. "I had an off-day and I figured I'd come out ... I brought my boots.

"I could kick all day long. I could kick field goals all day long. I absolutely love it. There's a lot the same with kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football. I love kicking long balls in soccer, and it carries over to football. The technique is the same, and I think I'm very accurate.

"I started at 25 [yards], and they kept moving me back. I hit one short, I think. There were a couple with the wind that went wide. I got to 55, and that was it. One take. It was good.

"I had no idea anyone was videotaping it or putting it on cell-phone video. I tried from 57, but it was wide; the distance was good. I would have kept going — my competitive nature. But I felt like I was holding them up out there."

Lloyd was flooded with messages after the clip went viral on social media.

"When we got in the car, it was unbelievable," she said. "The texts, the videos, everything going viral. I had no idea. It was insane. It still is insane. I could not believe the attention on social media.

"I just had a conversation with Randy [Brown, the former mayor of a town near Lloyd's home and assistant special-teams coach with the Baltimore Ravens], actually. The coaches and his GM, they all saw the video. They were like, 'What is she doing next week?'

"I'm laughing about it, but the more I think about it, this has the chance to be sort of a pioneering moment for women."

Lloyd's kick also caught the attention of Gil Brandt, former Dallas Cowboys' vice-president of player personnel, who tweeted: "Honestly, I don't think it will be long before we see a woman break through this NFL barrier. I'd give her an honest tryout if I were, say, the [Chicago] Bears."

The USWNT veteran, who helped her side retain the World Cup in July, hopes one day there could be a place for women in the NFL. 

"I know that I could actually probably do it. Put on the helmet, strap on the pads, go for it," Lloyd said. "The mindset I have, I think with practice, I know I have to work on my steps and my technique, but I think I could do it and do it well. It could be a huge, pivotal moment.

"There is no reason why a woman could not do this. And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure. When I have to nail something — shooting hoops, axe-throwing, kicking a field goal — that is the moment I live for and want.

"It's worth having some conversations about it. With practice and someone showing me, I know I can do it. I have one of the most accurate shots in our game. [The] big thing would be getting used to the big boys out there. But nothing scares me.

"You hold yourself back if you're afraid. What's the worst that can happen? I don't make the team? Let's just say I did try. Maybe I change the landscape a lot."

Lloyd and the rest of the national team are in the middle of a victory tour that will end on October 6 against South Korea. After the World Cup, Lloyd hinted she will continue playing international football for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Andrew Luck's shock retirement has thrust Jacoby Brissett into the limelight for the Indianapolis Colts.

Before Luck announced his decision there had been talk of Brissett potentially being traded, though such suggestions were shut down by the Colts' front office.

Now he is the man tasked with leading Frank Reich's offense and will have an extremely tough act to follow after Luck finished his fine career with a 2018 season that saw him throw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

But who is Brissett, and does he have what it takes to fill the void? Here we take a look at the Colts' new starting quarterback.

 

When was Brissett drafted?

Brissett entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2016 draft after a pair of stellar college seasons at NC State. After transferring from Florida, Brissett threw for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions for the Wolfpack.

How did the Colts acquire him?

The Colts sent wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots to land Brissett in a trade in September 2017, giving them another option under center with Luck's status still up in the air as he recovered from surgery on a separated shoulder.

What is his NFL experience?

Indianapolis will have been convinced to trade for Brissett partially by his performance in relief of the suspended Tom Brady and injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3 of the 2016 season. Brissett led the Patriots to a 27-0 victory and, with Brady guiding them to a Lombardi Trophy following his return, left New England with a Super Bowl ring.

He replaced Scott Tolzien in Week 1 of the 2017 season as the Colts were thrashed 46-9 by the Los Angeles Rams. From there he started the remaining 15 games and, though he only managed to lead a poor Colts team to four victories, Brissett emerged from the campaign with plenty of credit. He threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He also ran for 260 yards and four touchdowns.

Can he fill the void?

"Jacoby Brissett is a winning football player in this league. Jacoby Brissett is a rare, rare leader. He is. He's a rare human being, man. That locker room loves Jacoby Brissett. They love him."

Those were the words of Colts general manager Chris Ballard following Luck's retirement, making it clear Brissett will have the faith of the locker room.

But is he good enough to ensure the Colts remain contenders post-Luck?

There is no doubt he has the arm. Brissett has no problem throwing the long ball and, when Luck was still struggling with his shoulder last year, was brought on for a late Hail Mary attempt against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his 2017 season, Brissett also demonstrated the ability to go through his progressions and hang tough in the pocket even as it collapsed around him.

He may not have to worry too much about the pocket disintegrating in his second go-around as starter. The Colts have invested heavily in the offensive line, in an effort to protect Luck from the injuries that ultimately brought an early end to his career, and 2018 draft picks Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith have done an excellent job of shoring things up in the trenches.

Luck was sacked only 18 times in 2018, with Brissett having suffered 52 a year earlier.

Brissett is a superior runner to Luck and the damage he can do with his legs adds another dimension to an offense featuring plenty of talent.

In addition to an improving O-Line, Brissett has the benefit of one of the better offensive minds in the game in Reich, as well as an impressive array of pass-catching options including T.Y. Hilton, tight end Eric Ebron and electric rookie Parris Campbell.

The Colts have done a tremendous job of putting Brissett in a position to succeed. For him to do so he will need to show greater consistency and accuracy.

Completion percentage is not the ultimate barometer of the latter, but Brissett completed only 58.8 per cent of his passes in 2017. Luck's percentage was under 60 only twice in his six seasons.

However, with Reich at the helm he has an ideal coach to help him realise his potential. Without Luck the Colts may not be the favourites to win the AFC South, but Brissett is capable of keeping them firmly in contention.

Andrew Luck rocked the NFL on Saturday when he confirmed he was retiring.

The 29-year-old, who has battled injuries since entering the league with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, said at a press conference that his problems had "taken my joy of this game away".

One of the most hyped quarterbacks to enter the NFL in recent years, former first overall pick Luck certainly lived up to the billing when he was able to get on the field.

Here, we take a look at Luck's career in numbers.


171 - The former Stanford Cardinal tossed 171 touchdowns with the Colts. In NFL history, only Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino threw more in their first 86 regular-season games.

40 - Of those 171, 40 came in 2014 when Luck led the league in touchdown passes. Only eight men have thrown for more in a single season.

53-33-0 - Indianapolis won 53 of the 86 regular-season games Luck started. The Colts won two AFC South titles in 2013 and 2014 and made the playoffs on four occasions in the Luck era.

4 - Luck was named to the Pro Bowl four times and last season he won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award.

20 - There were 20 game-winning drives in Luck's career. Only Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford have had more since 2012.

28 - The Colts were 28 points down to the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs when Luck engineered what was, at the time, the second-biggest postseason comeback of all time on January 4, 2014.

174 - Luck was sacked on 174 occasions in his career, with 156 of those coming in his first five years as a pro and 41 in his rookie campaign.

4,374 - The record 4,374 yards Luck threw as a rookie remains the leading mark of any first-year quarterback.

11 - Luck played the Tennessee Titans on 11 occasions in his career. The Colts won every single game. 

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not given up hoping he will see Andrew Luck back in the NFL following the star quarterback's shock retirement.

Luck sent shockwaves through the NFL when he announced his retirement on Saturday, following the Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

The 29-year-old and four-time Pro Bowler cited injuries as a key factor behind his decision to quit American football.

Luck – who suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2017 – was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone problem throughout the offseason that limited him to just three practice sessions heading into the campaign.

Asked whether Luck could eventually return, Irsay told reporters: "I don't rule it out because as quickly as this thing descended on us and mysterious as it was, it could leave the same way.

"That's just a fact. It's very hard to measure sometimes our human experience and we all perceive life from our chair. I would say it's possible."

But Irsay is not banking on the slim chance Luck will have a change of heart.

"We know we have to get on and play," Irsay added. "We are focused on having a great season. It's possible but no one knows and he would be the first to say it. Only time will tell."

Luck was a Pro Bowl player in four of his six pro seasons and is fresh off a 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. He led the Colts to a 10-6 record last season and into the second round of the playoffs.

Colts head coach Frank Reich only had positive things to say about what Luck brought to Indianapolis since being selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"Being in that room with him for the last 18 months was just the experience of a lifetime," Reich said. "You know, a true competitor in every sense of the word, a great team-mate and just one of the truly unique players to ever put on an NFL uniform and certainly, to wear that horseshoe proud. So, for the coaching staff in that locker room, just getting a chance to work with this guy every day was incredible."

Now Indianapolis are focused on moving forward with Jacoby Brissett, who threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Colts when Luck sat out for all of 2017 to recover from a shoulder injury.

"There's a saying in football that everyone knows and everybody lives by, it’s next man up and even though this situation is unique, no one is exempt," Reich said.

The Colts will kick off their 2019 season away to the Los Angeles Chargers on September 8, with Brissett under centre.

When a star quarterback retires, things change.

Andrew Luck announced on Saturday that he is retiring from the NFL following the Indianapolis Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears, so just about everything is going to be different in 2019.

OK, that is a bit of a hyperbolic statement, but what is true is Luck's retirement does have a ripple effect on the NFL this upcoming season.

So, what are those effects? We have five for you.

 

Five effects of Luck's retirement on the NFL in 2019

Brissett gets a shot at being a franchise quarterback

Is Jacoby Brissett a franchise quarterback? That is unclear. But one thing is for certain, he is going to get a chance to be one in Indianapolis. There is a reason the Colts would not trade Brissett this offseason even if they were offered high draft picks. Indianapolis like him. Now Brissett is going to have a chance to prove he can lead this team better than he did when he did not have a ton of time to prepare in 2017 and had a bad roster around him. This is Brissett's chance. We will see if he takes advantage.

Texans, Jaguars can breathe easier

The Houston Texans were likely the favourites to win the AFC South coming into 2019, but the Colts were certainly a threat considering Luck would be two years removed from the shoulder surgery which cost him the entire 2017 season. But the Jacksonville Jaguars' addition of Nick Foles at quarterback had to put them in the conversation before, and now that Luck is gone, they have to have the second-best odds, don't they? But either way, the Texans and Jaguars have to feel better about getting wins against the Colts now and they could easily see two more victories on their schedules just with this retirement.

Mahomes' path to a second-straight MVP got easier

While Luck did not finish second in the MVP voting last season, one had to figure he would be firmly in the conversation to start this year and possibly the main competition for Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes. Now that competition is gone and Mahomes will likely have to fend off aging quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger and maybe a younger guy like Carson Wentz or Baker Mayfield. But Luck was going to be far away from his injury and would have likely been even better than he was last year with a more solid team around him. Mahomes might not be happy, but he has to feel good about his MVP chances again.

Browns, Ravens, Steelers will be happy come playoff time

The Colts likely would have earned a wild-card spot this season with Luck at the helm. They still might. But without Luck it will be tougher to get there, and as good as Brissett might be, Luck would probably be a surer thing in a playoff scenario. The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to be wild-card round competitors and not having to face Luck there will be nice. Again, maybe Brissett will be awesome when he gets there, but we know Luck has been good in the wild-card game, so looking ahead these teams have to be happy.

Patriots' path again gets easier

The New England Patriots have whipped up on the Colts in the playoffs but having Luck at 100 percent with a better defense made Indianapolis a tougher out in the playoffs, especially in year two with Frank Reich at the helm. Now Luck is out, and the playoffs may have completely changed. The Patriots are the favourites to win the AFC because they should be. The Chiefs are great, but until they beat the Patriots in the playoffs the conference goes through them. Now, the path to the Super Bowl looks ever so slightly easier.

Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck caught a lot of people off guard when he retired from the NFL on Saturday, but he is not the first player to do that.

In this league, the wear and tear can take a toll on a player, several stars decided to hang up their cleats unexpectedly.

We look at a few over the years we did not see coming.

 

Most surprising retirements in NFL history

Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns, RB, 1966

The original surprise came when Jim Brown, the NFL's MVP in 1965, announced that he was hanging up his cleats two months before the start of the 1966 season. Brown retired as the NFL's all-time leading rusher and was coming off a season where he rushed for 1,544 yards and 17 touchdowns. He stepped away at the peak of his game and moved on to become a movie star and true ambassador for the game.

Overall, Brown won.

Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions, RB, 1999

Along the same line as Brown, Barry Sanders was at the top of his game when he decided it was enough. He rushed for 2,000 yards in 1997 and eclipsed 1,400 in 1998. But after just 10 NFL seasons he decided to step away. He was playing behind an abysmal offensive and was repeatedly being stopped in the backfield.

The league lost a great entertainer that day.

Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers, LB, 2015

Chris Borland was a pleasant surprise as a rookie with the 49ers and a player who the team thought would be a key part of their defense. But, citing concern over head injuries, he retired in 2015 and left San Francisco scrambling to fix the middle of their defense. Borland tallied more than 100 tackles in his first season and really has not done much since leaving the NFL.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, WR, 2016

The 6-foot-5, 237-pound wide receiver might have been the most gifted pass catcher in NFL history. Calvin Johnson's size suggested he should have been less athletic than he was, but his 4.3-second, 40-yard-dash speed was absolutely impossible to contain. But four years after he nearly hit 2,000 receiving yards, he announced his retirement. Johnson was coming off a 1,214-yard, nine-touchdown season and was still one of, if not the best, receiver in the NFL.

This was a shock to football fans everywhere.

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns, OT, 2018

For a man who never missed a start until midway through the 2017 year, it was hard to believe he was done. Joe Thomas made the Pro Bowl in every single year he played before an injury ended his final season and he was still an amazing offensive tackle. But he had had enough football and has since moved over to the media business and has been an instant success.

Andrew Luck said injuries took his enjoyment of NFL away after the Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his shock retirement.

Colts star Luck confirmed his decision to quit the sport on Saturday following reports of the 29-year-old's imminent announcement emerged on social media.

Luck – a four-time Pro Bowl player – was set to make his retirement official on Sunday, however the former number one pick fronted the media after the Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

Following a career ravaged by injuries, Luck – who was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone problem throughout the offseason that limited him to just three practice sessions heading into the campaign – told reporters: "I'm going to retire, this is not an easy decision. This is the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck – who never won a Super Bowl – was the number one pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford.

He was named the Pro Football Writers Association's Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. That came one year after he missed the season with a shoulder injury.

The Colts were hoping he would be back for the third preseason game so they could name him the starter, but they were ready to go with backup Jacoby Brissett, who the team acquired from the New England Patriots in 2017 to play in Luck's absence.

"[The injuries have] taken my joy of this game away. I've been stuck in this process. I haven't been able to live the life I want to live. After 2016, I played in pain and was unable to practice, I said I wouldn't go through that again.

"It's sad but I also have a lot of clarity in this. Difficult process. My wife, family, friends, Chris Ballard, Mr. Irsay, Frank Reich have been incredibly supportive. Thankful for them."

Luck threw for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions in his career. He made the playoffs four times with his longest run going to the 2014 AFC Championship game.

He added: "It was an honour to represent the city of Indianapolis on and off the field. So grateful to have been drafted here. Can't fathom another owner who loves his team as much as Irsay does... This has been an incredible place to make a home and grow. This city will always hold a special place in my heart."

Luck was sensationally booed by Colts fans as he left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium before speaking to reporters.

On the booing, Luck said: "It hurt… it hurt."

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is sensationally set to retire from the NFL, according to reports.

An ESPN report says Luck, 29, is planning to announce his decision at a news conference on Sunday.

Colts star Luck is "mentally worn down" and is "now checking out", according to the report.

The report also says that Colts owner Jim Irsay has been informed of the four-time Pro Bowler's decision.

Luck – who never won a Super Bowl – was the number one pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford.

He was named the Pro Football Writers Association's Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. That came one year after he missed the season with a shoulder injury.

Luck was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone injury throughout the offseason and has practiced just three times in the lead up to the campaign.

The Colts were hoping he would be back for the third preseason game so they could name him the starter, but they were ready to go with backup Jacoby Brissett, who the team acquired from the New England Patriots in 2017 to play in Luck's absence.

Luck threw for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions in his career. He made the playoffs four times with his longest run going to the 2014 AFC Championship game.

He was described by several as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway in the 1983 draft and his maturity along with arm strength and athleticism gave the NFL a very unique player who truly was one of the best in his time.

Cam Newton was not on the field this weekend as the Carolina Panthers returned to practice after their third preseason game.

Newton was inside of Bank of America Stadium during Saturday's practice receiving treatment after suffering a sprained foot in Carolina's preseason loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday.

However, Panthers quarterback Newton – who made his first appearance since undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason – could be back under centre "pretty soon," according to head coach Ron Rivera.

"The doctors feel the more we keep him off of it, the more we keep it elevated, we're expecting it to take care of itself quickly,'' Rivera told reporters.

There is no clear timeline on Newton's return but the team remains optimistic the 2015 MVP will be ready for week one. 

"There really isn't any timetable, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure it's right and ready to roll,'' Rivera said.

"What we're going to do is take it day by day because there is no timetable. So we'll begin to focus in on what we need to as time progresses. There is no timetable.''

Rivera also said there were no plans to bring in a quarterback from outside the organisation for a workout. The Panthers are happy with the work backup Kyle Allen has done while he still has some room for improvement.

"The one thing that has stood out, when we get in some practice situations and watch the things Kyle really knows and handles really well, you feel, 'OK, this is the guy,''' Rivera said. "He hasn't been as steady as we would have liked him in the preseason games.

"His decision-making has been good. He just hasn't delivered a good ball at times, but he is quick on his feet, he's shown some cool under pressure in the past and that's one thing that really weighs in his favour.''

 

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.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury expects Michael Crabtree to be a major contributor following his arrival.

The Cardinals signed wide receiver Crabtree to a one-year deal, reportedly worth $5.5million on Wednesday.

First-year Cardinals coach Kingsbury discussed the team's decision to sign Crabtree – who swapped the Baltimore Ravens for Arizona – when he met with reporters on Thursday.

"I think he's been a very productive player in this league," Kingsbury said at his news conference. "Very savvy, mentally tough player, plays physical, brings a lot for our young receivers to learn from and be around.

"We're excited about him. ... Super competitive. Still has a real desire to play and play at a high level."

Crabtree, spent last season with the Ravens, catching 54 passes for 607 yards and three touchdowns. He has also played for the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders during his 10-year career. 

"We like what we've seen on tape," Kingsbury said. "[Cardinals general manager] Steve [Keim] feels really good about it, talking to other coaches and how he's continuing to get better and we think he comes in and provides depth right away. So, we're looking forward to getting him here and getting him out there."

Crabtree will be competing for the second spot on the Cardinals' depth chart behind veteran Larry Fitzgerald.

"I know he'll bring some value to our group," Fitzgerald said.

The Cardinals have two preseason games remaining before they host the Detroit Lions in week one action on September 8.

 

The Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders played their preseason matchup on a shortened 80-yard field because of poor conditions at IG Field in Winnipeg.

IG Field typically serves as a Canadian Football League (CFL) venue and when the field's goalposts were moved to accommodate an NFL game, a hole was left in the end zone. 

Team and league representatives examined the hole alongside officials before deciding on the modified conditions for Thursday's game.

They ultimately decided to eliminate kick-offs from the contest. Both teams will start with the ball at the 25-yard line instead.

An NFL spokesman said in a statement: "Tonight's game is being played on a reconfigured field. The field met the mandatory practices for the maintenance of surfaces for NFL games based on an inspection yesterday.

"Concerns arose today surrounding the area where the Blue Bombers' goal posts were previously located. The 10-yard line will function as the goal line at this game. In lieu of kick-offs, the ball will be placed at the 15-yard line."

Some thought star Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers would make his preseason debut against Oakland. 

However, the Packers announced their decision to hold Rodgers and 32 other players out of the contest prior to their start, likely because of the field conditions.

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