JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was perfect in his preseason debut Thursday night.

In his first live action since last year’s season finale, Newton completed both of his passes for 21 yards and a touchdown at Jacksonville. His 9-yard strike to Kelvin Benjamin capped a 10-play, 75-yard opening drive that showed Coach Ron Rivera all he needed to see.

Newton, a former league MVP, had surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right, throwing shoulder.

Newton participated in the first five practices of training camp before developing soreness and backing off for nearly two weeks. He amped up his workload this week in preparation for the team’s third preseason game.

The Panthers called runs on their first six plays before Newton stood in the pocket and found rookie Christian McCaffrey for a 12-yard gain. Three plays later, Newton was celebrating a touchdown. Carolina won, 24-23.

EAGLES 38, DOLPHINS 31: Carson Wentz tossed two touchdown passes, Mychal Kendricks returned an interception 31 yards for a score and Philadelphia won at home.


ROBERT BRAZILE and Jerry Kramer were picked as the senior finalists for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

The seniors committee selected Brazile and Kramer. To be elected, a senior nominee must have completed his career at least 25 years ago and will need at least 80 percent of the vote by the Hall of Fame selection committee when it meets during Super Bowl week in Minneapolis.

TEXANS: Receiver Jaelen Strong was suspended without pay for the opener for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

Strong can participate in Houston’s last two preseason games and all practices in preseason. He may return to the roster Sept. 11 after Houston’s game Sept. 10 against Jacksonville.

RAIDERS: Left tackle Donald Penn is expected to get on the field for at least a few plays this week after ending his lengthy contract holdout.

Penn stayed away from the team for 26 days before finally reporting Wednesday just as practice started. Penn is expected to travel with the team to Dallas before Saturday night’s exhibition game.

COWBOYS: Running back Ezekiel Elliott is likely to make his preseason debut against Oakland in what figures to be his only game until after his suspension for a domestic violence incident.

Coach Jason Garrett said he was leaning toward Elliott playing Saturday night. And he said the plan would be similar to Elliott’s only exhibition appearance as a rookie, when he had seven carries for 48 yards on 14 snaps at Seattle last year.

PACKERS: Bryan Bulaga, a veteran right tackle, is cautiously optimistic that he’ll be ready to go for Week 1 after injuring his right ankle at practice.

“I’m not too concerned about it,” Bulaga said while on the way to treatment. “I’m able to walk and it feels better as the day goes on. Based on how it feels today and throughout the day, it’s a positive, I think.”

GIANTS: New York signed defensive back Tim Scott, filling a roster spot that opened when veteran Valentino Blake left the team.

The team said Blake left Wednesday and was placed on the exempt/left squad list. It didn’t say why he left.

BILLS: Running back LeSean McCoy isn’t surprised Colin Kaepernick has had difficulty finding a job, and thinks it has little to do with the quarterback’s decision to not stand for the national anthem last season.

Some teams, McCoy said, might consider it not being worth the chaos to take on a polarizing player such as Kaepernick to fill what’s likely to be a backup role.