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NFL notebook: Panthers lose WR Benjamin for season

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin will be sidelined for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee Wednesday during a joint practice with the Miami Dolphins.

“Obviously, we feel awful for Kelvin,” Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said. “He’s worked tremendously hard to put himself in a positon to have a strong year. We’re confident he will attack his surgery and rehab with the same determination he has met all challenges before.”

Benjamin was crossing the field when he stopped to plant while running a route and went to the turf with both hands wrapped around the top of his left knee.

A first-round pick in 2014, Benjamin was second on the team with 73 receptions behind only tight end Greg Olsen and had a team-high nine touchdowns.

Miami Dolphins safety Louis Delmas also reportedly suffered a torn right ACL in that practice Wednesday.

—Guard Mike Iupati, the Arizona Cardinals’ big free-agent addition, is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Iupati is expected to have an arthroscopic procedure this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.

The Cardinals signed Iupati from the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers in March, giving him a five-year, $40 million contract.

The Cardinals also released linebacker Darryl Sharpton on Wednesday.

—Quarterback Kenny Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel, who both died in recent months, were nominated by the Senior Committee for possible induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Stabler and Stanfel will be among 18 finalists who will be up for a final vote on Feb. 6 — the day before Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Stabler, nicknamed “The Snake,” was known primarily for his years with the Oakland Raiders (1970-79). He died July 8 of colon cancer at age 69.

Stanfel, who died June 22 at age 87, was selected to the Pro Bowl in two of his four seasons (1952-55) in Detroit and was named to the all-decade team for the 1950s in 2002.

—New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell were ordered back to court Aug. 31 if no settlement is reached before that date in Brady’s appeal to have a four-game suspension reduced.

“A settlement seems like a logical and rational option,” Judge Richard M. Berman said Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York.

Berman said, if left up to him to rule in the matter, he would not be held to a Sept. 4 deadline for a decision, which is six days before the Patriots are scheduled to open the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

—Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy, despite injuring his hamstring, is expected to be ready for the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

McCoy strained his hamstring during Tuesday evening’s joint practice with the Cleveland Browns. He limped off the field during the session and was set to undergo an MRI to determine its extent.

McCoy, 27, is the Bills’ top offseason acquisition and owner of a reworked contract that will pay him $16 million this year. He rushed for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns last season for the Philadelphia Eagles, who traded him to Buffalo.

—The Bills signed defensive lineman Red Bryant and running back Cierre Wood.

Bryant, 31, entered the league as a fourth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008. The 6-foot-4, 323-pound Texas A&M product has played in 80 games (71 starts) and has totaled 143 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Wood, 24, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans in 2013. The 5-11, 213-pound Notre Dame product has played in five games.

The Bills also released tight end Chris Manhertz and cornerback Rod Sweeting.

—New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is pushing back on a report that he wants to be the highest-paid player in the NFL, saying “it’s never come out of my mouth.”

“The reports are all wrong,” Manning said. “That’s never been said. It’s never come out of my mouth. I’ve never said it to my agent. I don’t know where people are getting their information.”

Manning is in the final year on his second NFL contract. Without a new contract, his franchise tag number next season would be about $24 million.

—Oakland Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes reportedly will miss three to four weeks with a broken hand.

Holmes left practice early Sunday due to an unknown injury, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that the cause was a fractured hand.

Holmes, 27, caught 47 passes for 693 yards and four touchdowns last year and had been expected to remain a key part of a receiving corps that has been bolstered by the arrival of No. 4 overall draft pick Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree.

—Dallas Cowboys All-Pro guard Zack Martin was diagnosed with a severe stinger in his neck after an on-field collision left the second-year starter motionless on the field Tuesday in a joint practice with the St. Louis Rams.

Pulling to block in front of running back Darren McFadden, Martin collided with a defender and appeared to instantly lose mobility in his extremities.

Martin, a first-round pick in 2014 voted an All-Pro as a rookie right guard, was scheduled for further tests.

—The Houston Texans signed safety Quintin Demps and defensive end Fili Moala, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Texans also waived defensive end Jasper Coleman and injured tight end Mike McFarland.

Demps, 30, played for the Texans from 2010 to 2012 and has 183 career tackles and 11 interceptions. He was with the New York Giants last season, making 57 tackles and four interceptions.

Moala, 30, has 88 career tackles since being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the second round of the 2009 draft. He has battled knee problems in recent years, spending last season on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers claimed linebacker L.J. Fort off waivers from the New England Patriots.

To make room for Fort, the Steelers waived injured linebacker Jordan Zumwalt. He will revert to injured reserve if he goes unclaimed.

Fort was released by the Patriots on Tuesday.

—The San Diego Chargers claimed tight end Logan Stokes off waivers from the New England Patriots.

The Patriots had waived Stokes on Tuesday after acquiring tight end Asante Cleveland from the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chargers made room on the roster for Stokes by waiving tight end Eric Frohnapfel.

—The Washington Redskins waived outside linebacker Trevardo Williams and reached agreement with him on an injury settlement.

Williams was slowed by a strained hamstring during training camp.

Williams spent part of last season on the Redskins’ roster and had three tackles and a sack in a Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

—The Cincinnati Bengals signed rookie wide receiver Michael Bennett.

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Bennett is a college free agent out of Georgia. He played in 43 games (27 starts) over four seasons at Georgia and totaled 134 receptions for 1,607 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The Bengals also waived tight end Jake Murphy, a first-year player from Utah. Murphy spent time last season on the Bengals’ practice squad.


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