Rivera decides to rest Newton, other star players vs. Bills

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              Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton poses with children before the first half an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Charlotte. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers say quarterback Cam Newton and four other key starters will not play Friday night against the Buffalo Bills.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera had indicated on Wednesday that all of his starters would play against the Bills, including Newton.

However, the ninth-year head coach had a change of heart and he will also not play running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end Greg Olsen and linebackers Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson.

None of those decisions are injury-related.

Newton has not played in a game since Dec. 17 and underwent offseason surgery on his right shoulder but has been practicing. Kuechly got dinged up in practice two weeks ago, but has since returned and participated in both joint practices against the Bills earlier this week.

Kyle Allen will start at quarterback for Carolina.