Quarterback Cam Newton, last season’s most valuable player in the NFL, will see his most extensive playing time of the preseason Friday night for the Carolina Panthers against the New England Patriots.

Coach Ron Rivera said Newton and the rest of the starters from last year’s NFC championship team will play into the third quarter. Newton has played sparingly in the first two exhibition games, leading five drives culminating in one touchdown and two field goals.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick hasn’t disclosed his plans but it’s expected Jimmy Garoppolo will start at quarterback and see most of the reps to get ready for the regular season. Tom Brady, the first-string quarterback, is suspended for the first four games for his role in Deflategate.

PITTSBURGH LINEBACKER James Harrison and Green Bay defensive players Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers met this week with NFL investigators looking into allegations linking them to performance-enhancing drugs, the players’ union said.

Matthews and Peppers met with league representatives Wednesday and Harrison did so Thursday.

CHARGERS: A day after the taking its contract dispute with rookie defensive end Joey Bosa public, San Diego Coach Mike McCoy had nice things to say about the former Ohio State star.

“I think everybody understands the business side to this,” McCoy said Thursday. “He loves the game, he plays with passion. … We all want him here.”

Bosa, the only first-rounder who has not signed with his team, has missed all of training camp as his agents and the team wrangle over how much of his $17 million signing bonus he’ll get up front, as well as offset language in case he gets cut.

The Chargers said Wednesday they pulled their contract offer and said they would restructure a new deal that would reflect him playing less than a full season.

LIONS: Detroit cut running back Stevan Ridley, who it signed in April, hoping he would bolster its depth in the backfield after releasing Joique Bell.

Ridley started in one game and played in eight more for the New York Jets last season and ran for just 90 yards.

He had 1,263 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 2012 with the New England Patriots.

A Miami federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by New York Giants lineman Jason Pierre-Paul against ESPN over disclosure of his medical records from a 2015 fireworks accident.

The case is set for an August 2017 trial. Pierre-Paul was hospitalized in Miami after the Fourth of July accident, which caused serious injury to his right hand. The lawsuit claims ESPN and a network reporter violated his privacy and Florida medical confidentiality laws by posting the records on social media.

The network argued the records merely bolstered a news report.

BRONCOS: Julie Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, told The Denver Post a “brazen” thief carrying a bright orange cowboy hat stole a team helmet worth $400 during a crowded autograph session after practice July 31.

The man was in a group of people interacting with the player when he stole the helmet and passed it off to a second man wearing a No. 18 jersey.

The player, who hasn’t been identified, had set the helmet on the ground next to him.

JOHN ELWAY, Bruce Arians and Tom Coughlin were added to the powerful competition committee.

RAIDERS: Backers of a proposed NFL stadium said they’ve whittled their list to two sites just west of the Las Vegas Strip and refuse to accept any less than $750 million in public funding toward the project, which they hope will soon be home to the Raiders.

“Not to be difficult, but we’re not negotiable,” said the Sands president, Rob Goldstein, who spoke on behalf of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family.

“If we can’t get 750, we respectfully thank you but we’re going to move on.”