METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley is coming off one of his best NFL seasons and it might have been his last.

At the very least, he won’t be playing in 2017.

General Manager Mickey Loomis said Monday that Fairley has been placed on the team’s reserve list with a nonfootball illness designation, meaning the 2016 starter is out for this season.

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Fairley had a career-best six sacks for the Saints last season, after which he signed a four-year extension worth up to $28 million.

However, symptoms related to an enlarged heart caused Fairley to miss offseason practices and minicamp while he saw specialists to determine whether playing football would be an undue health risk.

Saints Coach Sean Payton has said at least one specialist recommended that the 29-year-old Fairley – a former Auburn star and 2011 first-round draft pick by Detroit – give up football. Payton also mentioned that he wanted to be sure Fairley wouldn’t return unless he was confident enough in his health to play to his full potential.

“The most important thing right now in our mind is his well-being,” Payton said earlier this month, when Fairley’s status for this season was still in doubt.

“To play this game, there’s a little bit of mental toughness involved, obviously. I want to make sure, if in fact he’s playing it, again that he’s playing with full confidence that he’s healthy to play and that nothing severe would come of him playing.”

Fairley has been playing his whole NFL career with an enlarged heart, which can be caused by health problems of varying severity.

In addition to his career-high sacks last season, Fairley was credited with nine tackles for losses and 22 quarterback hits.

Fairley’s absence is the second recent blow to a team trying to break out of a rut of mediocrity that has produced three straight 7-9 seasons. Little more than a week ago, the Saints learned that their highest-paid offensive lineman, left tackle Terron Armstead, needed shoulder surgery that would sideline him 4 to 6 months, or at least about half of the regular season.

PANTHERS: Quarterback Cam Newton said on Twitter that he threw his first passes since surgery in March for a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

Newton is on schedule to participate in the team’s training camp in July, and barring setbacks should be ready for the start of the season.

The Panthers released a short black-and-white video of Newton throwing in the team’s locker room.

FORMER GREEN BAY Packers running back Ahman Green was charged with felony child abuse after his 15-year-old daughter told police he punched her in the face.

Green, 40, is also charged with disorderly conduct in the incident late Sunday in the Green Bay suburb of Ledgeview.

According to a criminal complaint, Green’s daughter told police that he struck her in the face in a dispute over getting her to do the dishes. She also said he threw her to the ground and against kitchen cabinets.

According to the complaint, Green told deputies he “may have” thrown his daughter to the ground and against cabinets. He said he slapped her in the head and believed he may have hit her glasses, causing a swollen eye.