NFL Notebook

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
CHARLOTTE ó Perhaps no team is in need of offseason practices more than the NFL-worst Carolina Panthers. After falling behind their division rivals, the Panthers finally gathered Tuesday for their first player-organized workout since the lockout began.
They also did their best to make sure no one saw rookie Cam Newton and company.
Players hired a police officer to shoo away reporters from the high school where they were working out on the hot, humid morning. Cones blocked another entrance to the field at Charlotte Christian.
Guard Geoff Schwartz indicated on Twitter that more than 50 players attended.
ěGreat morning of team activities,î he wrote.
Tackle Jordan Gross, who organized the two weeks of practices with left guard Travelle Wharton, said reporters wouldnít be allowed in until the last day June 9.
ěWeíre just trying to prepare to win some football games,î Gross said outside the private school.
A few dozen high-priced vehicles were seen in the parking lot, but the field was out of view from the road. So there was no way of seeing Newton, the No. 1 overall pick, fellow quarterback Jimmy Clausen or to get updates on players coming back from injury.
The Panthers were the last team in the NFC South to gather in this odd offseason.
ěItís been so long,î running back Jonathan Stewart wrote on Twitter. ěTime to get better!î
Thatís for sure. After going 2-14 last season with the leagueís worst offense, the Panthers replaced coach John Fox with San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. But the labor dispute has prevented Rivera from gathering his team.
Then the Panthers drafted Newton. The Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn could replace Clausen, who went 1-9 as a starter with the NFLís worst passer rating in 2010. Throw in the uncertain status of receiver Steve Smith, who has hedged on whether he wants to return, and the Panthers are stuck in neutral.
STAMFORD, Conn. ó Football Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli, who played for the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams during a 14-year NFL career, has died. He was 85.
“He was one of the greatest players in franchise history, and one of the finest, most dignified gentlemen you could ever meet,” Giants President John Mara said. “Andy was a man’s man in every respect.”
FAIRFAX, Va. ó A judge on Tuesday dismissed a misdemeanor assault charge against Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth after the player reached an agreement with the man who said he was the victim of a road-rage attack.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Jake Locker has joined his new teammates for the first time for unofficial workouts in Nashville.
The Tennessean reported that the Titans’ first-round draft pick joined 14 teammates at Nashville’s Father Ryan High School for conditioning drills on Tuesday morning. He says he plans on working out with teammates for the next two weeks.
The NFL Players Association will stage a two-day educational program for rookies at the end of June and cover all costs.
One week after the league canceled its annual rookie symposium because of the owners’ lockout of the players, the NFLPA has set up what it calls “The Business of Football, Rookie Edition” for Washington on June 28-29. Every drafted rookie ó all 254 of them ó is invited.
“We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said.