Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart could play in season opener

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Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he’s optimistic running back Jonathan Stewart will play Sunday in the season opener at Tampa Bay.

Stewart sprained his right ankle in the team’s third preseason game Aug. 26 and hasn’t practice since.

Although he was held out of practice, Rivera says Stewart “moved around very nicely” during a private workout Monday. Rivera says that’s a “very encouraging sign” and he’s hopeful Stewart will return to practice today.

BOUNTIES: The NFL Players Association asked a federal judge for a temporary restraining order that would allow players suspended in connection with the NFL’s bounty investigation to rejoin their teams in time to play regular season openers.

The union, which filed the motion Tuesday on behalf of New Orleans defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, argues the players will suffer irreparable harm if they are forced to miss games while their case against the league proceeds.

Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma had already filed a similar motion when his full-season suspension began earlier. The other three players’ suspensions began this week.

BROWNS: Joe Haden’s case remains mysterious and unresolved.

The former Florida Gators cornerback, and one of Cleveland’s best players, is awaiting word from the NFL on a possible four-game suspension for failing a drug test.

On Tuesday, Browns president Mike Holmgren revealed in a local radio interview that Haden has already had his appeal hearing with the league.

“Now it’s up to someone else,” Holmgren told 92.3 The Fan. “And we don’t know.”

Haden reportedly failed a test for taking Adderall, which is on the league’s banned substance list.

DOLPHINS: Quarterback David Garrard was released, leaving Matt Moore as the veteran backup to rookie starter Ryan Tannehill.

Garrard signed in March and climbed atop the depth chart in training camp before he was sidelined by a left knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery Aug. 11.


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