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Cam Newton is still in concussion protocol and Panthers prepare as if he will miss game

Cam Newton is still in concussion protocol and Panthers prepare as if he will miss game
Cam Newton has not played since sustaining a concussion Oct. 2 in a game against the Falcons. (Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

Derek Anderson is preparing as if he will start Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Cam Newton still in the league's concussion protocol.

The 33-year-old Anderson took reps with Carolina's first-team offense for the second straight day , while Newton did not attend the team's outdoor practice.

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Panthers Coach Ron Rivera offered little in terms of an update on Newton's playing status, saying he won't make a decision on the 2015 MVP until later this week.

"We are not forcing players to get onto the football field," Rivera said emphatically Thursday. "We will do exactly as the protocol tells us and what the doctors and experts tell us."

The NFL is still investigating how the Panthers handled a helmet-to-helmet hit Newton took in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to the Denver Broncos. Newton stayed in and completed that game despite a ferocious blow to the head. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Associated Press on Thursday the league had no update on that investigation.

Newton was one of six starters who didn't practice Thursday.

Running back Jonathan Stewart (hamstring), left tackle Michael Oher (concussion), defensive end Charles Johnson (quad), linebacker Thomas Davis (hamstring) and cornerback James Bradberry (foot) also sat out. Six other starters, including wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., were limited in practice as the injuries continue to mount for the struggling Panthers (1-3).

The Panthers have "absolute confidence" in Anderson should he be pressed into a starting role, according to Rivera.

Anderson is 20-25 as an NFL starter, but 2-0 since joining the Panthers six years ago. Coincidentally, both of those wins came against the Buccaneers in 2014.

"He's done a great job for us," Rivera said. "He's been here the whole time and has been very steady. And guys have confidence in him as well, and that's very important."

Bills defensive backs fined for Patriots altercation

Three Buffalo Bills defensive backs are paying a price for their involvement in a pre-game, on-field altercation with members of the New England Patriots last weekend.

Safety Robert Blanton says the NFL fined him $21,000 and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman says he was fined $10,000. Safety Aaron Williams was also fined, but wouldn't reveal how much. "It's up there," Williams said.

The three spoke to the Associated Press after practice Thursday, a day before the NFL discloses what players it has disciplined from the previous week's games.

Etc.

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will likely be a game-time decision to play at Pittsburgh on Sunday while he continues to heal from a hamstring injury. Revis sat out practice for a second straight day. Wide receiver Eric Decker says his partially torn right rotator cuff is feeling better, but his availability remains uncertain. … Ravens cornerback Bashaud Breeland ramped up his efforts Thursday for a possible return to the lineup after sitting out Washington's 31-20 win over Cleveland with a left ankle injury. Breeland worked on movement drills as teammates practiced in full going into Sunday's game against Baltimore. …

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The San Francisco 49ers have removed linebacker Aaron Lynch from the roster exemption list and placed linebacker NaVorro Bowman on injured reserve. Lynch was activated in time to play Thursday night against Arizona. Lynch was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. … The Atlanta Falcons have been penalized by the NFL for having excessive contact in offseason workouts. The Falcons must forfeit their first three days of organized team activities in 2017. Atlanta's players will be paid for the canceled sessions.

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