Carolina acquired veteran defensive end Jared Allen from Chicago on Monday in exchange for a 2016 sixth-round draft pick, pending a physical exam.
The Panthers made the move after their top pass rusher, Charles Johnson, suffered a hamstring injury of unspecified severity during Sunday's 27-22 win over New Orleans. He has been ruled out of this week's game at Tampa Bay. The Panthers lost their other top pass rusher, Greg Hardy, in the off-season when he signed with Dallas.
NFL executive defends referee
Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, said referee Ed Hochuli insists he never told Carolina quarterback Cam Newton that he "wasn't old enough" to get a personal foul call during Sunday's game against New Orleans. "Ed was adamant that he did not say that," Blandino told the NFL Network. "He told me that he said [to Newton] that 'the difference is you were running.'"
Newton called out the veteran referee after Carolina's 27-22 win. He felt a personal foul should have been called on Saints defensive tackle Tyeler Davison for hitting him out of bounds. TV replays show Newton having a brief conversation with Hochuli after the play, and the quarterback reacted at one point with surprise before breaking into a wide, disbelieving smile. "The response I got was, 'Cam, you're not old enough to get that call,' " Newton said after the game.
A day after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a left knee injury against St. Louis, the Pittsburgh Steelers said he is expected back at some point in 2015. Coach Mike Tomlin did not offer a timetable for Roethlisberger to return from a sprained medial collateral ligament, saying only that it will be "a number of weeks." Tomlin also expressed confidence that 35-year-old backup Michael Vick can keep one of the league's most dynamic offenses humming while Roethlisberger is out, starting Thursday against Baltimore.
New look in Denver
Denver Coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Peyton Manning have reached an apparent compromise with a switch to the "pistol" offense. The set allows the 39-year-old Manning to line up in shotgun formation, which he prefers so he can keep his eyes on the defense. But it also stations a running back directly behind him, which Kubiak, who likes his quarterback to line up under center, regards as essential for maximizing the effectiveness of play-action. "I want to get Peyton as comfortable as I possibly can," Kubiak said. "We're still trying to maintain some balance formation-wise."
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch will undergo an MRI test on the injured hamstring that caused him to miss the second half of Sunday's win over Chicago. Lynch also has been dealing with a sore back and neck, and a calf injury. . . . New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz hopes to practice Wednesday and play for the first time in almost a year Sunday against Buffalo. Cruz sustained a season-ending knee injury against Philadelphia on Oct. 12, and a calf injury in training camp sidelined him for the first three games this year. Buffalo receiver Sammy Watkins' status for the game is uncertain because of a calf injury . . . Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown injured his throwing hand in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to Oakland, but doesn't expect to miss any time. He continued playing after the injury but threw a rally-killing interception on his final pass. . . . New York Jets right guard Willie Colon will miss at least one game because of a sprained knee. . . . Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes could play this week at Denver, despite a concussion that knocked him out of the second half Sunday against San Diego.