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Rivera refutes report, says Newton OK

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera opened his Tuesday news conference refuting a FOX Sports report that Cam Newton had injuries to both ankles during Monday night’s 45-21 loss to the Eagles.

“I’m not sure where all that came from. But put it to rest,” Rivera said. “He said it at his press conference after the game, he’s fine.

“I’m taking him for his word. … The doctors have nothing on it. The trainers have nothing on it.”

Newton didn’t look himself on the field Monday night as he struggled to accelerate early to avoid sacks. Before throwing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the game well out of reach, Newton went 18 of 30 for 195 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

Newton told the media after the game he was OK. Rivera said he never got any indication from Newton or the training staff that the franchise quarterback was injured.

“I’m great. That’s not going to be a distraction,” Newton said after getting sacked a career-high nine times against Philadelphia. “Yeah, I got hit a lot today, but it’s all in the game. We’re not playing ballet. We’re not running track or anything. This is a physical sport. It’s what you sign up for.”

Early Tuesday morning, FOX Sports reported Newton had injuries to both his surgically repaired left ankle and his right ankle.

BROWNS: As Ben Tate prepares to face his old team, he’s not satisfied with the role he has with his new one.

When Tate left the Houston Texans as an unrestricted free agent and signed a two-year, $6.2 million contract with the Browns in March, the franchise told him he would become its featured running back. But the Browns have divided the workload between Tate and rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell for the vast majority of this season.

Is the situation satisfying?

“I’d be lying if I said yeah,” Tate said Tuesday after practice. “It’s not, but whatever the organization thinks is best for the team, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Tate, though, isn’t going to object because the Browns (6-3) are in sole possession of first place in the AFC North heading into their home game Sunday against the Texans (4-5).

“We’re winning,” Tate said. “We’re 6-3 and in first place. That’s all that really matters.

“Who would (object)? You’d look like the bad guy. You don’t do that.”

West, a third-round pick, has 107 carries for 396 yards (3.7 average) and three touchdowns. Tate has 104 carries for 342 yards (3.3 average) and four touchdowns. Crowell, who joined the Browns as an undrafted free agent, has 64 carries for 297 yards (4.6 average) and five touchdowns.

The Browns are the only team in the NFL with three players who have more than 250 rushing yards this season.

SEAHAWKS: Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who was having the best season of his eight-year NFL career, will miss the rest of the season with a torn hamstring, a league source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Tuesday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Monday said only that Mebane had a “legit” hamstring pull and would be “out for a while”.

Mebane anchors the best run defense in the NFL.

The loss of the 6-foot-1, 311-pounder, who is in his eighth NFL season, leaves the Seahawks reliant on veteran Kevin Williams, a potential Hall of Famer in the twilight of his career, and second-year tackle Jordan Hill, who has struggled to stay healthy. But even if Williams and Hill fill in admirably, there is no replacing Mebane.

COWBOYS: The Dallas Cowboys activated defensive tackle Josh Brent Tuesday.

Brent, who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in the Dec. 12 death of teammate Jerry Brown, went to London with the team last week.

To make room for Brent, the Cowboys waived linebacker Tim Dobbins.

Brent has not played in a game since 2012. The 2013 media guide listed him at 6-foot-2, 320 pounds.

“He’s got to get his weight down, get in football shape,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “This is the NFL. It’s a challenge.

“He’s been away for a little bit. He needs to practice to get that much closer.”

Brent was suspended for 10 games by commissioner Roger Goodell.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton scrambles against Philadelphia Monday. Reports of Newton being injured aren't accurate, says his coach, Ron Rivera. AP PHOTO