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Wide receiver Torrey Smith chuckled at the notion that Eric Reid's

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 return to the NFL this week might be a distraction for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday when they host the New York Giants.Smith said Reid's stance on racial injustice hasn't been an issue in the locker room Authentic Garrett Grayson Jersey , adding that "no one cares" if he kneels or not during the national anthem.He said Reid's new teammates are more eager to see what he does on the field rather than what he does before the game."It's not like he's out there and coach calls 'Cover 3' and he's going to take a knee and let a guy run by him. If that was the issue, it would be a problem," Smith said with a laugh. "But that's not the way it works. Eric knows what is best for Eric and we all know what he is fighting for."Reid, who knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco during the national anthem to bring attention to racial and social injustice, hasn't said if he will demonstrate Sunday in his first game since filing a collusion grievance against the NFL alleging that teams wouldn't sign him because of his protesting.Regardless of Reid's beliefs, the Panthers (2-1) are excited to have the 2013 Pro Bowler, who is expected to start at safety after Da'Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve last week with a concussion.Cam Newton said the Panthers "got a steal" when they signed the 26-year-old Reid."He's a great player," Newton said. "We've accepted him with open arms. We know he's going to be an impact player for us, and that's all I care about."Reid, who is African-American, said after signing a one-year contract with Carolina that he plans to "continue to speak for my people" and use his platform to talk about injustices."I'm going to stand by him and none of that will be a distraction as far as us winning football games," Newton said. "What he does on the football field is going to impact this team. I know that."Things to watch in Sunday's game:FAMILIAR FACESWhen Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly turned on the film this week, he saw plenty of familiar plays being run by the Giants. New York's offensive coordinator is Mike Shula, who worked as Carolina's offensive coordinator from 2013-17. So Kuechly saw just about every one of Shula's play calls over the last five years in practice.Of course, what Kuechly didn't see too much of on tape this week were zone read options, something Shula ran frequently with Newton as his quarterback. That's not something the Giants are running with the slow-footed Eli Manning at the helm. "If Eli runs like Cam does, then we are in trouble," Kuechly said.Moving the ball and scoring points has been a struggle this season for the Giants under Shula.ON THE RUNGiants coach Pat Shurmur admittedly didn't use rookie Saquon Barkley enough in the loss to the Saints last weekend. The running game was limited to 65 yards on 15 carries. Barkley had 44 yards on 10 carries, with 28 coming on a sprint around end. New York usually doesn't win unless it can establish some kind of run game to set up the play-action pass. Expect Barkley to either double his carries this week or have backup Wayne Gallman carry more than twice. The Panthers are allowing 110 yards per game on the ground.Jonathan Stewart, Carolina's all-time leading rusher, was placed on injured reserve last week by New York.VERNON'S BACKThe Giants are optimistic that outside linebacker Olivier Vernon will see his first action of the season after a strong week of practice. Shurmur thinks that could give the defense a boost P. J. Williams Jersey , saying "when you have a fresh body that has the talent, the skill and abilities of a pass rusher, it helps your defense. Certainly adding him back to the mix will help."Vernon has 40 陆 sacks over the past five seasons while playing mostly defensive end. He missed the first four games after suffering a high ankle sprain in late August.DEFENDING RUSHING QBSThe Giants' defense has struggled against opposing quarterbacks in the run game. In four games, opposition QBs have gained 151 yards on 20 carries, a 7.55 average. That could be a major problem this week with Newton taking snaps. The 2015 league MVP has carried 28 times for 136 yards and three touchdowns in three games. He has rushed for at least 700 yards in each of the last three seasons, joining Michael Vick as the only NFL quarterbacks with three 700-yard seasons rushing. The Saints used a new wrinkle last weekend against the Giants, having backup quarterback Taysom Hill rush four times for 28 yards.MORE McCAFFREYAided by Newton's skills as a runner , the Panthers have the league's No. 1-ranked rushing offense, while the Giants are 29th against the run. So it shouldn't be too hard to figure out what Carolina wants to do Sunday. Christian McCaffrey is coming off a career-high 184 yards rushing on 28 carries in a 31-21 win against the Bengals before the bye week. But given that offensive coordinator Norv Turner is known to mix things up from week to week, it wouldn't be a shocker if Turner leans a little more heavily on backup running back C.J. Anderson this week.AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report. Jason Myers kept jogging onto the field to kick one field goal after another.Once, twice, six times.By the time he went out to boot his seventh last Sunday, the New York Jets kicker wasn't sure how many he had against Denver.Myers just knew there were lots of them."Someone goes, 'Man, how many was that?'" a smiling Myers recalled Friday. "I started counting and I lost count."Totally understandable, of course. That'll happen when you make a franchise-record seven field goals, the second-most in NFL history. Myers was one shy of the eight by Tennessee's Rob Bironas in 2007. His 24 total points 鈥?seven field goals and three extra points 鈥?were just two short of Bironas' mark for the most in league history by a player who didn't score a touchdown."It's fun to get all that work in," Myers said. "I didn't even know where they were from until after the game. But, yeah, it was fun."Myers got things started with a 30-yarder in the first quarter. He had a 48-yarder in the second and closed the opening half with a 32-yard kick.His 37-yarder in the third quarter gave him four.Then came the fourth quarter, when he made field goals of 45 Ken Crawley Jersey , 37 and 45 yards to help lift the Jets to a 42-34 victory. The Jets' offense ranks last in the NFL in red-zone efficiency and scored just one touchdown in six opportunities against the Colts, but Myers was there to give them a boost with his busy leg.Myers was also selected the AFC's special teams player of the week for his performance."That was really out of the ordinary," long snapper Thomas Hennessy said. "I think in the fourth quarter, we had three or something, so I definitely knew that we were approaching an amount that is not normal."Myers' path to the Jets' record books has also been unusual, with plenty of twists and turns.Just two months ago, he didn't know if he'd have a job in the NFL after being cut by Seattle. Today, he leads NFL kickers with 63 points and 16 field goals, and is tied with Kansas City's Harrison Butker for the most touchbacks with 32."I think the progression of Jason's career is just awesome and it's an awesome testament that the guy stuck through it all like that," Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said. "To see success happen for him, I think it's really cool because he's such a great kid and he's a hard worker. Just seeing him come in and have success, I was proud as hell of him."The 27-year-old San Diego native grew up playing football, soccer and baseball at Mater Dei Catholic High School, but his success as a kicker had him focused on the gridiron for college. The offers weren't flooding his mailbox, though."I was a late bloomer," he said with a shrug.He considered going to junior college before Marist College 鈥?on the other side of the country, tucked in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York 鈥?came calling.So, Myers traded the sun of southern California for the chilly northeast."I came out for an official visit and I loved the campus, loved everything," said Myers A.J. Klein Jersey Salute to Service , who kicked four seasons for the Red Foxes.The NFL was still a long way off, though, especially after going undrafted and unsigned in 2013. Myers went to the Arena Football League the following year and had stints with Arizona and San Jose."I was there just for a hot second," Myers said. "It was good. It helped me keep kicking."His big NFL break came in March 2015, when Jacksonville signed him to a free-agent deal. Five months later, the Jaguars traded Josh Scobee to Pittsburgh 鈥?making Myers their kicker.He led the league with 12 field-goal attempts of more than 50 yards, and for the most made with seven. His 80 percent touchback rate made him a reliable asset to Jacksonville's special teams unit.But that all changed when he missed three long field goals in Week 6 last season against the Rams. He was released and had a few workouts with teams, but remained unemployed until Seattle signed him a few days after the regular season ended.He lost a camp competition in Seattle to Sebastian Janikowski and was again without an NFL gig for a few days until the Jets claimed him off waivers.Myers hopped on a red-eye flight to New Jersey, got off the plane, headed to the Jets' facility and immediately linked up with Hennessy and punter Lachlan Edwards on the practice field. Myers proceeded to boot 20 consecutive field goals."And he hit one from like 63 (yards) or something," Hennessy recalled. "His focus was amazing, especially since there was so much going on at that point. It was impressive."Two days after his first practice with the Jets, Myers was kicking for them in the team's third preseason game 鈥?on his way to securing the job with New York."If I would've sat back and thought about how fast everything moved that week, I think I probably would've not been able to do as well as I did," he said. "I just kind of kept rolling and took it day by day."And one kick at time. All the way to a spot in Jets history."I've definitely taken the long road," he said. "It was a little tougher, but it kind of helps me be who I am 鈥?mentally tough 鈥?and I don't take all that stuff the wrong way. It just kind of helps build my character, who I am. I kind of use it as a positive and keep building off it." Custom Washington Redskins Jerseys
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