Cam Newton, whose first two plays of the season resulted in touchdowns, will start for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Darryl Webb/Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers Coach Matt Rhule said Cam Newton will start Sunday at quarterback against the Washington Football Team.

Rhule said P.J. Walker, who started in Carolina’s 34-10 win against the Arizona Cardinals last week, could still see action as well since there are portions of the game plan that Newton is still learning.

“He has really done a nice job of learning the game plan for this week,” Rhule said of Newton, the league’s MVP in 2015. “There is obviously a lot to learn and there are some parts that obviously he probably has a better grasp of than others. But he’s worked hard and he’s really a smart player, a smart quarterback.”

Newton scored touchdowns – one rushing and one passing – the first two times he touched the ball against the Cardinals. He played 12% of the team’s offensive plays after signing with the team just three days before the game.

As for Walker’ role, Rhule said: “There are certain parts of the offense that Cam doesn’t have a lot of exposure to yet, so we will have both guys up and ready to play and probably use both of them.”

BROWNS: Nick Chubb returned to the Browns in shorts, sleeveless and raring to run.

Cleveland’s star back was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. He is cleared to play Sunday when the Browns host the winless Detroit Lions, beginning a crucial three-game stretch.

Chubb tested positive for the virus on Nov. 9 and had to miss last weekend’s 45-7 loss to the New England. Now that he’s healthy, Chubb said he’s prepared to carry the ball as often as the Browns need.

“I’m ready for whatever,” he said.

Coach Kevin Stefanski also said quarterback Baker Mayfield will start after he sat out one day this week to rest shoulder, foot and knee injuries. On Wednesday, Mayfield said he has never been so “beat up” in his career.

SAINTS: Running back Alvin Kamara will miss his second straight game Sunday in Philadelphia, and New Orleans also will be without starting tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.

Kamara, who missed last week’s loss at Tennessee with a knee injury, returned to practice on a limited basis early this week before missing practice on both Thursday and Friday before being ruled out for this week’s game against the Eagles. Kamara has 530 yards and three touchdowns rushing this season to go with a team-high 32 catches for 310 yards and four TDs receiving.

Armstead, who has knee and shoulder injuries, also did not play last week. Ramczyk, who has a knee injury, will miss his first game this season.

Taysom Hill, a reserve quarterback who enters the game to run the option and also plays tight end and on special teams, returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis and is questionable for Sunday’s game at Philadelphia.

New Orleans also ruled out several other players: receiver Ty Montgomery (hand), defensive tackle Malcolm Roach (knee) and defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle).

COWBOYS: Dallas receiver Amari Cooper has been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list and will miss the Cowboys’ game Sunday at Kansas City.

The timing of the move Friday raises questions about Cooper’s availability for the Thanksgiving game against his former team, the Las Vegas Raiders. Cooper is second to CeeDee Lamb in catches, yards and touchdowns. Cooper has 44 catches for 583 yards and five touchdowns.

• Connor McGovern is replacing Connor Williams at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys, who hope left tackle Tyron Smith is ready to return from an ankle injury that has sidelined the perennial Pro Bowler for two games.

Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show that McGovern was getting the nod Sunday at Kansas City over Williams, who leads the NFL with 13 total penalties and 10 accepted penalties.

EAGLES: Philadelphia agreed to a four-year contract extension through 2025 with Dallas Goedert that will make him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league.

On Friday the team announced the deal, which is worth up to $59 million with $35.7 million guaranteed, according to a league source. Goedert, 26, became the Eagles’ clear-cut No. 1 tight end last month after the team traded Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals and now he has cashed in. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, but expressed a desire to stay with the Eagles going into the season.

STEELERS: While the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger remains in limbo, and theoretically could be up in the air until Sunday due to the nature of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols, we now know who definitely won’t be on the field at SoFi Stadium against the Chargers.

Star outside linebacker T.J. Watt (hip/knee), cornerback Joe Haden (foot) and left guard Kevin Dotson (ankle) all were ruled out by the team Friday. None of the three practiced at all this week. Rookie defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk is also out with a groin injury.

SEAHAWKS: Seattle will be without starting running back Chris Carson for the rest of the season after he chose to undergo surgery on his neck.

Coach Pete Carroll didn’t fully describe the issue Friday but indicated Carson has a nerve in his neck being impacted by a vertebrate and that surgery is the best option for recovery.

GIANTS: Defensive back Logan Ryan was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after having close contact with someone who has the coronavirus, and his status for Monday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is uncertain.

Coach Joe Judge said that Ryan had a positive rapid COVID-19 test on Friday. He added the team was waiting for the result of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, a molecular test that looks for genetic material that indicates COVID-19.

The Giants (3-6) had a number of false positive test results in the week leading up to their game with the Las Vegas Raiders on Nov. 7.

Judge does not believe Ryan’s result is a false positive, but would not say more about it. He did not practice Friday.

Ryan has a team-high 72 tackles. If he were not able to play against the Bucs (6-3) and former Patriots teammate Tom Brady, Julian Love would get more playing time.

CHARGERS: Coach Brandon Staley left open the possibility that all four players on the Los Angeles Chargers’ reserve/COVID-19 list could be available Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Defensive tackles Jerry Tillery and Christian Covington, along with linebacker Drue Tranquill tested positive while linebacker Joey Bosa went into protocols as an unvaccinated close contact. Of the three, Bosa has the best chance if he tests negative for a fifth straight day Saturday.

ZAC STACY, a former NFL running back with the Rams and Jets, appeared before a judge Friday morning after he was arrested at Orlando International Airport on charges he beat the mother of his infant son at her home in Oakland, Florida, last weekend. Video showing the former running back attacking the woman went viral in recent days after the victim shared it online.

Orlando police arrested Stacy after he exited an inbound flight from Nashville, Tennessee, and took him to Orange County Jail, said OPD’s Heidi Rodríguez. In court, his defense attorney said Stacy had flown back to Florida immediately after learning that Oakland police had issued a warrant for his arrest “with the intention of turning himself in.”

County Judge Andrew Bain Stacy’s bond at $10,150 on felony charges of aggravated battery and criminal mischief and also ordered him to have no contact with the victim if released and not possess any weapons or firearms.


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