The Panthers are under fire for allowing Cam Newton back into a game shortly after a huge hit
- Cam Newton was slow to get up after being hit hard in the fourth quarter of the Carolina Panthers' loss to the New Orleans Saints and later wobbled while going to the sidelines.
- Newton later claimed that he was hit in the eye, and he reportedly went to the ground to give backup quarterback Derek Anderson time to get ready.
- The NFL is investigating whether the Panthers violated concussion protocol by not bringing Newton back to the locker room to be evaluated.
The Carolina Panthers are under fire for their handling of Cam Newton following a big hit from the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
In the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 31-26 loss to the Saints in the NFC Wild Card, Newton was hit by Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata and stayed on the ground for several moments.
After Newton got to his feet, he jogged toward the sideline, but later crumpled to the ground, with a team staff member assisting him off the field. He was replaced by backup quarterback Derek Anderson for one play.
Newton appeared to undergo some testing on the sidelines, but re-entered the game on the next drive. According to ESPN, the NFL recently made revisions to its concussion policy, insisting players must undergo testing in the locker room if they show certain symptoms.
After the game, Newton said he was poked in the eye and was not experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
"I know it was precautionary things for a concussion, but it wasn't a hit to the head it was my eye," Newton said. "My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe. I thought somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I've got my visor, so that couldn't happen."
As for his wobbling off the field, ESPN's Jeff Saturday said that Newton was told to go to the ground to give Anderson time to get on the field and preserve time on the clock.
"Coaches, players on the sideline are telling you, 'Get down, get down,'" Saturday said, adding, "If he walks off, they set the play clock and all the sudden you're being hurried up.
"So, I understand, but once he got up and started walking to the sideline, once he gets within earshot of the sideline, everybody on that sideline is telling him. 'Hey take a knee. Get down, get down.'"
According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the NFL has contacted the Panthers' medical staff to ask why Newton wasn't taken back to the locker room. After both the Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans failed to comply with the NFL concussion protocol this season, with the Seahawks being fined $100,000, the league is likely to further question the Panthers over the handling of Newton.
Meanwhile, many in the sports world came down on the Panthers for allowing Newton back into the game so quickly.
USA Today's Nancy Armour wrote that the NFL should "hammer" the Panthers hile noting the league doesn't care about its players.
Bill Simmons similarly called for the NFL to scrap the concussion protocol because it doesn't seem to work.
At a time when the NFL is trying to crack down on the handling of concussions, it was an ugly sight during a primetime game.
They should dump the Concussion Protocol, it's a sham. The NFL doesn't care about its players and we knew this already. https://t.co/iZOY375gyw- Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 8, 2018
Cam's right eye sure made a fast recovery. The NFL is hilarious. The blue tent should be called the Sunken Place.- Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 8, 2018
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