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NFL roundup: Newton has successful ankle surgery

The SportsXchange

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton underwent successful surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

"Dr. (Robert) Anderson did not find anything unexpected in the procedure and the surgery went well," Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement.

The team said the full recovery period for Newton is expected to be approximately four months, which would take Newton until the start of training camp. He could be freed to throw on a limited basis before then.

According to ESPN.com, Newton nicked his ankle in a Week 16 victory against the New Orleans Saints, but played in the regular-season finale at Atlanta and in the NFC divisional playoff loss against San Francisco without noticeable issue.

The decision was made to go ahead with the operation after the ankle failed to heal with rest after the end of the season.

---The annual National Football League meeting begins Monday in Orlando, Fla., and there will be changes of 13 rules, seven by-laws and one resolution potentially put up for vote.

The competition committee proposals included an addition to the rule about rolling up on the back of a player's leg to include rolling up from the side; allowing the on-field referee to consult with a member of the league's officiating department, likely vice president of officiating Dean Blandino in the New York command center, during replay reviews; add to the reviewable list of plays clear recoveries of fumbles in the field of play like the one by San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman during the playoffs; keep the game clock running on sacks; eliminate the one yard from the line of scrimmage rule for pass interference; and have defensive penalties behind the line of scrimmage be enforced from the previous spot rather than from where the foul occurred or where the play ended.

---It appears that veteran free-agent quarterback Michael Vick will visit the New York Jets this weekend.

According to reports, the Jets are interested in Vick after failing to land free-agent quarterback Josh McCown, who signed a two-year contract last week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Jets could be interested in the bringing in a veteran to pair with second-year quarterback Geno Smith. Former starter Mark Sanchez remains on the Jets' roster, but he could be released before a March 25 deadline when a $2 million roster bonus kicks in.

---After nine seasons with the Tennessee Titans, kicker Rob Bironas was released by the team.

Bironas is the second leading scorer in Oilers/Titans franchise history with 1,032 points, ranking behind only Al Del Greco, and his 85.7 career field goal percentage ranks fourth in NFL history.

---Interest among NFL teams in a trade for Titans running back Chris Johnson is picking up. According to multiple reports, a number of teams could be willing to discuss a deal with the Titans. One of the stumbling blocks could be Johnson's unwillingness to take a pay cut. The 28-year-old Johnson is scheduled to make $8 million in 2014.

---Free-agent defensive tackle Henry Melton is headed to Dallas. The former University of Texas player announced via Twitter that he was returning to the Longhorn state to join the Cowboys.

Melton signed a one-year contract that includes three option years, NFL.com reported. The deal, which could yield up to $5 million in 2014, extends to four years if Melton is on the roster at the start of the 2015 season and would include $9 million in guaranteed money. That essentially would make it a four-year, $29 million contract with $14 million guaranteed.

---Former cornerback Troy Vincent was named the NFL's executive vice president of football operations.

Dave Gardi, the NFL's vice president of labor relations and football administration, was appointed to a newly created position of senior vice president of football operations.

---Free-agent offensive tackle Eric Winston was named president of the NFL Players Association.

Winston was elected at the NFLPA's Board of Player Representatives meeting in Orlando, Fla. Winston succeeds outgoing NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth.

---The Chicago Bears reached agreement with cornerback Sherrick McManis on a one-year contract.

McManis spent the past two seasons with the Bears. He made his first career start last season in a game against the St. Louis Rams and played in a career-high 15 games in 2013.

---The Pittsburgh Steelers were to meet with free-agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew on Wednesday and also could be interested in bringing back former Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

Jones-Drew, who has spent his entire seven-year career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, also is attracting interest from other teams, ESPN.com reported.

---Restricted free-agent Jed Collins reached agreement on a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions.

Collins spent the past three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, primarily as a blocker out of the backfield, but he did contribute 39 receptions (14 each of the past two seasons) for 174 yards and four touchdowns. He also played on special teams.

---The New York Jets re-signed veteran guard Willie Colon to a one-year contract. According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $2 million.

The 30-year-old Colon, who signed with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent last March, started 16 games at right guard in 2013.

---The Oakland Raiders re-signed safety Usama Young. HIs agent, Andy Simms, said earlier that the deal was for two years.

Young joined the Raiders for the 2013 season after signing a one-year contract. He filled a backup role, finishing with 27 tackles (19 solo), one interception and a career-high 2.5 sacks, before he suffered a season-ending injury.

---Akeem Jordan signed a one-year deal with the Washington Redskins, adding a potential starting inside linebacker to their depth chart.

Jordan started 10 games at inside linebacker in the Kansas City Chiefs' 3-4 scheme in 2013. He spent the previous five seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

---The Green Bay Packers officially re-signed running back James Starks. ESPN.com reported the deal was for two years.

Starks played in 13 games with one start in 2013 and rushed for 493 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 89 carries. His average of 5.54 yards per carry this past season ranked No. 1 in the league among running backs with 80-plus attempts.

---The Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with defensive tackle Peria Jerry. The 6-foot-2, 295-pounder was selected by the Falcons in the first round (24th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss.

Jerry enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2013, logging career highs with 35 total tackles (27 solo) and 3.5 sacks.

-----Blake Bortles' startling ascent from relative unknown to potential No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick stayed on course with one long-time NFL scout at Central Florida's pro day characterizing the quarterback's workout as a "very solid performance overall."

Another high-ranking scout at Bortles' workout gave the throwing session a "B" on a typical A-F scale, acknowledging Bortles' "good" accuracy on underneath passes but also questioning his deep ball accuracy after several of the quarterback's final throws sailed over the head of his intended targets.

Bortles completed 38 of 47 passes during the scripted workout, with the majority of his misses either drops from his receivers or overthrows on deep balls.
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