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Doc's NFL Notebook

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Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's success this season has not been limited to his acting ability on gimmick plays. Newton set the NFL record for passing yards by a rookie, a record previously held by Peyton Manning, and did so with seven quarters to spare in the 2011 season.

And he had another record to set in Week 16, finding receiver Brandon LaFell for a 91-yard touchdown pass, the longest passing play in franchise history. Combine all that with his league-leading 5.6 yards per carry (on 120 attempts), and Newton is well on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. It's easy to forget, but Newton was actually booed at Radio City Music Hall when Carolina took him with the first pick in April. No Panthers fans are booing their starting QB now.

A "Little" Trick
Usually NFL head coaches are inspired to draw up trick plays while watching game film, not Hollywood films. Except in the case of Carolina offensive coordinator Rob photo by David J. PhillipsChudzinski, who adapted a Fumblerooski-type play from the movie "Little Giants" into his Week 15 playbook. Quarterback Cam Newton took the shotgun snap and snuck the ball between the legs of his fullback Richie Brockel. When Newton spinned off to the right side, most of the Houston Texans defense thought he had the ball. After delaying for a second to sell the fake, Brockel sprinted to the left side with the football. Head coach Ron Rivera said it was based on "the annexation of Puerto Rico" gadget play from the football movie. The result, in both cases? Touchdown.

Drug-Dealing Bear?
Sam Hurd only got eight catches this year with Chicago Bears, but now that's the least of his worries. The wide receiver was photo by Jeffrey Beallarrested in December by federal agents and charged with conspiracy to possess to the intent to distribute 500 grams of cocaine. Hurd allegedly told an undercover Homeland Security agent that he and another man were looking to distribute ten kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week. That adds up to a cool $700,000 worth of drugs, as a law enforcement source told a Chicago radio station was Hurd was one of the "top few" drug dealers in Chicago. The same station also says officials have a list of at least 10 NFL players who received their drugs from Hurd. A football drug scandal is developing.

Khan You Dig It?
The Jaguars have a new owner as of Jan. 4, but Jacksonville fans shouldn't fear losing their team to another city any time soon. Shahid Khan was photo by University of Illinois Athletic Departmentapproved on Dec. 14 after his estimated $760 million purchase of the Jags. Khan, who was born in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. at 16, becomes the NFL's first minority owner. His spokesman told the NFL Network, "Khan is 100 percent invested in Jacksonville and the legacy built by Wayne and Delores Weaver." And even if he weren't so invested, relocation would be difficult. To move the team by 2016, Khan would have to show financial losses in three straight years, pay a "massive" lease buyout to the city and relocation fee to the NFL, and give $25 million to Weaver's favorite charity.

Holiday Cursing
Ah, there's nothing like Christmas time in New York. Walking through snowy Central Park. Skating at Rockefeller Center. Exchanging photo by William Perlmanprofanities with the opposing head coach. Yessir, it was a full holiday for Giants running back Brandon Jacobs. After Jacobs' team defeated the Jets 29-14 on Christmas Eve, he reportedly told Jets head coach Rex Ryan, "time to shut up, fat boy!" Ryan was certainly outspoken in the week prior to the game about his expectations of the Jets being the best team in New York. But after the Giants' takedown of Gang Green, Jacobs took the opportunity to make a statement of his own. The two traded expletives, and Jacobs told Ryan he would "punch him in the face," and called him "a disrespectful b------." The holidays are a time for friends!

Candlestick Goes Out
In case you're still in the dark, here's the story behind the Monday Night Football power outage in San Francisco. The first time the photo by Jeff Chiulights went out, as the Steelers and 49ers warmed up, was the fault of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The giant spark that looked like an exploding transformer was actually one of PG&E's power lines falling to the ground when a splice that connects two overhead wires failed. The second outage occurred when a switch on the stadium's backup power system malfunctioned. But Candlestick Park and its electrical troubles may not be long for this world. A few day before the blackouts, the Santa Clara City Council unanimously approved a funding plan of bank loans to construct a new $1-billion stadium for the 49ers.

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