NFL, NFLPA to investigate Panthers' concussion evaluation of Cam Newton

Cam Newton

The NFL and NFL Players Association are conducting a joint review into how the Carolina Panthers handled the concussion protocol as it related to a fourth-quarter hit on quarterback Cam Newton in Sunday's NFC playoff loss at New Orleans.

"We are in contact now with the Panthers' medical staff and we will not comment further until those conversations are completed", the National Football League said in a written statement issued through a spokesman.

In the fourth quarter of the Panthers' wild-card matchup against the New Orleans Saints, Newton thought he'd eluded Tyeler Davison, and as he tried to stand upright he collided with defensive tackle David Onyemata.

But the Panthers' announced Newton instead was tested for a concussion in the blue sideline tent, cleared and permitted to return to the game. - after missing only one play.

Newton finished the game as the Panthers lost, 31-26, at the Superdome and saw their season end. He said after the game the issue was with his eye, not his head. A sideline concussion evaluation is not considered sufficient under those circumstances. Any player showing "gross or sustained vertical instability" following a hit is now required to be evaluated for a concussion in the locker room, according to the NFL's updated concussion protocol.

'NFL concussion protocol should have dictated taking out Cam Newton and examining him immediately after direct hit to his head, ' Pat Leonard wrote.

The league and the players union changed its concussion protocol last month after Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage returned to the field after having a concussion that left the quarterback's hands shaking after a hit.

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But that price is a pittance for a multi-billion-dollar franchise, so the question of whether the punishment for clubs found to be guilty of not following the rules could become an offseason topic of debate.

"I've just got to be better", Newton said.

"I'm not here to make that type of judgment", Jordan said in the Saints' postgame locker room. "We're going to send him a nice little bottle of Jordan wine".

Ron Rivera said after the game that Newton had been poked in the eye.

"I hate that I couldn't do enough to get a win today for a lot of guys I think highly of", Newton said.

"Carolina picked him, so the brothers could reunite", Jordan said.

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