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NFL: Jonathan Stewart signs extension with Panthers

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The Carolina Panthers guaranteed their one-two punch at running back would stay intact by signing Jonathan Stewart to a five-year contract extension Saturday.

The deal, which runs through 2017, is worth between $36.5 million and $42.5 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. Stewart is guaranteed $22.5 million, per Schefter's source.

Stewart's deal comes one year after DeAngelo Williams signed a five-year, $43 million deal with $21 million guaranteed.

Williams, the team's first-round pick in 2006, is the leading rusher in Carolina history. Stewart, the Panthers' first-rounder in 2008, is No. 2 on that list. Together they have helped the Panthers lead the NFL in rushing yards since 2008.

"We are thrilled to be able to extend Jonathan for five additional years. He is a perfect fit for our organization," general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. "He is a playmaker who can make the difference in games and we have seen the impact he and DeAngelo Williams have had on our team."

---New Cincinnati Bengals left guard Travelle Wharton is out for the season with a knee injury, according to two reports.

Wharton was one of several Bengals hurt in their 17-6 victory over the New York Jets on Friday.

Wharton was injured on the third offensive play and was seen on crutches at halftime. ESPN's John Clayton and ProFootballTalk both reported Saturday that he is out for the season.

Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga and left end Carlos Dunlap sustained right knee sprains in the opening minutes of the game as well, according to Bengals.com.

Maualuga said he will miss a couple of days of practice. Dunlap would not comment on his injury and there is no time frame for his return. A knee sprain typically takes a couple of weeks to heal, depending on the severity of the injury.

Safety Taylor Mays left the game with a concussion, but Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he did not know how long he would be out.

All four players are projected starters.

---San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith left Friday's exhibition game against the visiting Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter with only a bruised hip, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Smith left the locker room on two support canes, but coach Jim Harbaugh said the preliminary indication was that Smith would not miss much time.

Smith was injured while lunging for Vikings running back Toby Gerhart with 5:07 left in the first quarter of the 49ers 17-6 win. Smith stayed in the game for one play before limping to the sideline and dropping to the ground on his back. He was later carted to the locker room before halftime.

Smith had 14 sacks as a rookie for San Francisco last year. He is a projected starter on the outside after being a third-down specialist last year.

---Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick announced via Twitter on Saturday morning that he will return to practice in the afternoon.

Vick injured his left thumb when it made contact with the back of center Jason Kelce's helmet during a pass attempt during Thursday night's preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The X-rays on the thumb turned out negative.

Vick's backup, Mike Kafka, broke his non-throwing (left) hand in the exhibition game and will be limited for the next three weeks. Kafka can participate in drills where he does not have to take snaps from center.

Rookie Nick Foles, a third-round draft pick, will get most of the work with the No. 2 offense with Kafka limited. Foles completed six of 10 passes for 144 yards with two touchdowns in the third quarter against the Steelers.

---Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie will retain full control over the team after his divorce was settled, NFL.com reported Saturday.

The New York Post reported earlier during the week that Lurie, 60, would hand over "a sizable chunk" of the team over to his ex-wife, Christina, but sources told NFL.com that the report was overstated. Only a small, non-voting share of the team was turned over to her.

Lurie is the only person with voting stock or management authority over the Eagles and owns a larger portion of his team than most other NFL owners.

The Eagles would not comment, according to NFL.com.

Lurie bought the team in 1994, and it is reportedly worth more than $1 billion.

---The Minnesota Vikings are planning to discuss activating injured running back Adrian Peterson on Sunday.

Peterson, recovering from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, has said he plans to be ready for the season opener in four weeks. He is on the active/physically unable to perform list.

But Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told ESPN Twin Cities that he plans to talk with his coaching staff on Saturday about activating Peterson on Sunday.

"We're going to discuss it," Frazier said. "We'll discuss where he is and what's the next step for him this week, whether we continue to work through rehab or how we want to approach it."

Peterson has not practiced with the team during training camp. Toby Gerhart has been the Vikings' lead option at running back. He had five carries for 31 yards in Friday's exhibition against the San Francisco 49ers.

---Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to training camp Saturday after missing six days of camp but did not practice during the team's afternoon session, ESPN Chicago reported.

Urlacher missed four days because of a sore left knee but missed the next two days for personal reasons.

He also did not attend the Bears' preseason opener Thursday, a 31-3 loss to the visiting Denver Broncos.

The team excused Urlacher from practicing Tuesday and Wednesday so he could tend to a personal matter. It is not known if the knee soreness is related to the personal matter.

It is also unclear when Urlacher will be back on the field.

---Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told the Miami Herald on Saturday that the starting quarterback job is up for grabs.

David Garrard was the projected starter until having knee surgery Saturday. Backup Matt Moore was outplayed by rookie Ryan Tannehill in Friday night's exhibition opener against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Philbin said the gap between the three quarterbacks is not significant.

"I don't think it's huge," Philbin said. "I think it's relatively close, probably."

Moore, who started, went 7-for-12 for 79 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in the 20-7 loss. Tannehill completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions after taking over late in the second quarter and playing well into the third.

Garrard chimed in via Twitter, writing that his surgery went well and he will be back soon.

"Everything went great this morning," he wrote. "Be back before u know it!! Phins Up!!!"

Garrard expects to be out two to four weeks.

---The New Orleans Saints signed three players, including veteran tight end Daniel Graham, and waived three on Saturday, the Times-Picayune reported.

Graham, cornerback Nick Hixson and guard Paul Fenaroli were signed by the team.

Waived were linebacker Nate Bussey, guard Andrew Tiller and cornerback A.J. Davis because of injuries.

Graham has been a starter for much of his 10-year-career. He was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2002 and helped them win a pair of Super Bowls in five years. He has 222 career receptions but had just two for 25 yards and one touchdown with the Tennessee Titans last year.

Hixson is an undrafted rookie free agent from Hillsdale College and Fenaroli played briefly for the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers last year.
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