New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and offensive linemen Nate Solder and Jonathan Cooper will not play Sunday night in a season opener against the Arizona Cardinals because of injuries, the team announced Friday night.

Gronkowski has been limited in practice because of a hamstring injury and didn’t play in any of the preseason games. Solder injured a hamstring in the final preseason game against the New York Giants, and Cooper has had a foot injury throughout the preseason.

New England will already be without quarterback Tom Brady, who is serving a four-game suspension. Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first career start in Brady’s place.

PANTHERS: Coach Ron Rivera wants Cam Newton to receive the same protection on helmet-to-helmet hits as other quarterbacks get in the NFL.

Rivera said because of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton’s size and the Panthers’ style of play, Newton often doesn’t the flags on hard hits that smaller QBs do.

Newton was on the receiving end of four helmet-to-helmet hits in Thursday night’s 21-20 loss to Denver, but the Broncos were only penalized once.

“I think there is a little bit of prejudice to that,” Rivera said. “It’s kind of like Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a big physical basketball player and he goes to set a pick and they fall down and they call a foul on him. Then he goes to shoot a layup and gets hacked and hammered and they don’t call it.”

Newton was tested four times for a concussion – after the game in the locker room, on the bus, on the flight home and Friday at the stadium – and all proved to be negative. He was never tested during the game.

BILLS: Seantrel Henderson has dropped plans to appeal his four-game suspension even though his agent said the right tackle was using marijuana for medicinal purposes to relieve the effects of Crohn’s disease.

The Bills announced Friday that Henderson was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Henderson’s agent, Brian Fettner, told The Associated Press that his client tested positive for marijuana. Fettner added it was “futile” to appeal the league’s ruling.

VIKINGS: The rehabilitation of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s left knee will require recovery from multiple ligament reconstruction.

The team issued a statement from director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman, revealing that surgery on Thursday was performed in Dallas by Dr. Dan Cooper at the Carrell Clinic. The dislocation of Bridgewater’s knee during practice on Aug. 30 resulted in a complete tear of his anterior cruciate ligament and other significant damage.

CHIEFS: Running back Jamaal Charles is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s opener against the Chargers.

Charles has been trying to come back from his second ACL surgery, this time to his right knee. He has been participating in practices but did not play in any of the Chiefs’ preseason games.