Cam Newton named Panthers’ co-captain for first time

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was selected by his teammates as co-captain for the first time in his NFL career, coach Ron Rivera said Thursday.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly, last year’s AP defensive rookie of the year; linebacker Thomas Davis; wide receiver Steve Smith; and offensive linemen Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil were also selected as co-captains.

In Newton’s first two seasons, the Panthers selected only two offensive captains and those honors went to Smith and Gross.

Newton said during training camp one of his goals was to earn the honor of captain from his teammates.

“When you’re a team captain that’s not just a patch on the jersey. You’re holding yourself to a higher standard with being accountable,” he said.

Texans

REED COULD PLAY OPENER AT SAN DIEGO: Safety Ed Reed could play when the Texans open the season at San Diego on Monday night, coach Gary Kubiak said.

Reed was taken off the physically unable to perform list Saturday and returned to practice on a limited basis this week. He has been recovering from April hip surgery to repair a partially torn labrum.

The nine-time Pro Bowler signed in the offseason. He will practice in pads for the first time Friday. Kubiak said he’s been encouraged by the progress Reed has made this week, and that he’ll know more about his status for the opener in the next couple of days.

Eagles

WR COOPER, CB WILLIAMS SCUFFLE: Riley Cooper, who left the Philadelphia Eagles for three days in training camp after a video of him making a racial slur surfaced on the Internet, got into a scuffle with Cary Williams at practice Thursday.

Williams was covering Cooper, broke up a pass from Michael Vick and both players went to the ground. Cooper got up and shoved Williams first. Williams responded with a couple punches and had to be forcibly restrained by teammates, including Vick.

Cooper walked away after Brandon Boykin stepped in to separate the players. Williams then took his helmet off, screamed at Cooper and started walking toward him before Vick stepped in and grabbed the fiery cornerback by his jersey. Williams yelled at Vick, and an assistant coach led the quarterback away. DeSean Jackson then calmed Williams, who’s no stranger to fights.

Jaguars

TE LEWIS MISSES PRACTICE AGAIN: The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without tight end Marcedes Lewis in the season opener against Kansas City.

Lewis missed his second consecutive day of practice Thursday. He re-injured a strained left calf Wednesday. The injury kept him out of the final three preseason games.

Lewis caught 52 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns last season, but is expected to be a bigger part of the offense in 2013.

Coach Gus Bradley said he doesn’t want “to put him in there and have him continue to be another three weeks, another three weeks. So that will be the evaluation.”

That could prompt the Jaguars to hold Lewis out Sunday. If he doesn’t play, backup Allen Reisner likely would start, and newly signed Clay Harbor and D.J. Williams could see playing time.