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NFL roundup: Panthers exercise option on Newton

The SportsXchange

The Carolina Panthers exercised their 2015 option on quarterback Cam Newton, according to reports Thursday,

Newton is recovering from ankle surgery but is expected back for training camp.

The two sides are expected to eventually work on a deal that will keep Newton in Carolina well beyond 2015.

Barring an extension, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft will play the 2014 season under the terms of his original rookie deal -- a four-year contract that paid on an average of $5.5 million per season. In the 2015 option year, Newton's salary will jump up to $14.67 million, according to CBSSports.com.

The 24-year-old Newton completed his third year with the Panthers in 2013, passing for 3,379 yards and 24 touchdowns with 13 interceptions in 16 regular-season starts. He added 585 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the ground in leading Carolina to the playoffs.

---The New England Patriots exercised a fifth-year contract option on offensive tackle Nate Solder for 2015.

A first-round pick in the 2011 draft, Solder has played 47 games (44 starts) since entering the league out of Colorado.

Solder will earn $7.438 million in 2015.

---The Patriots signed linebacker Josh Hull, who was released by the Washington Redskins earlier this month, to a one-year contract, ESPN.com reported.

Hull, a special teamer, made 14 tackles in 11 games last season.

---Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant announced his retirement from the NFL.

Trufant re-signed with the Seahawks on Wednesday so he could retire as a Seahawk.

Trufant started 125 games in 10 seasons with the Seahawks, including 94 of a possible 96 games to begin his career. He was not re-signed after becoming an unrestricted free agent last March. He signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in May, but was released before playing in a regular-season game.

---Beloved Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, replaced by Solomon Wilcots as the color analyst on the team's preseason game telecasts, said he lost his job due to slurred speech attributed to concussions sustained playing for the team.

Kosar released a statement in response to the demotion calling the role "one of the remaining joys in my life."

Kosar is being considered for other media roles, according to the Browns, who did not comment on the claim that slurred speech was part of the decision to replace Kosar in the TV role.

That speech "is a direct result of the many concussions I received while playing in the NFL," Kosar said.

---Seahawks personnel executive Scot McCloughan resigned to tend to a personal matter.

A top aide to general manager John Schneider since he left the San Francisco 49ers after the 2009 season due to personal issues, CBS Sports reported McCloughan will start an independent scouting service while tending to the family matter.

---TIME Magazine named outspoken Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman one of its 100 Most Influential People, applauding his willingness to speak his mind in an era of microphone dodging in professional sports.

It's not simply that Sherman is loquacious, but that he speaks openly and thoughtfully about hands-off social issues, tackling topics in January and February of this year alone that including the insinuation and connotations raised when calling someone a thug and candidly debating race in sports.

Sherman's inclusion in the TIME list puts him in a unique peer group, one that includes stem-cell scientists, world leaders and icons of film and entertainment.
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