The NFL and NFL Players Association on Monday launched a joint formal investigation of the Carolina Panthers' handling of the injury suffered by quarterback Cam Newton during Sunday's loss at New Orleans in an NFC first-round playoff game.
The Panthers could be fined as much as $150,000 if the investigation finds they didn't properly follow the league's concussion protocol.
Though Newton went to the ground on his way to the sideline, he said it was because of an eye injury and not a head injury, per NFL Network's Tiffany Blackmon: "I know it was a precautionary concussion protocol thing that happened, but it wasn't my head, it was my eye".
It appears that the review will focus on whether Newton fell on his way to the Panthers' sideline after absorbing a fourth-quarter hit or was told by a member of Carolina's medical staff to drop to his knees. He was taken to the medical tent for a concussion evaluation and replaced by backup Derek Anderson, but was cleared to return to the game. The Saints won the game, 31-26, sacking Newton on the game's final play.
According to Fox Sports' Chris Myers on the broadcast, Newton's visor poked him in the eye, a unusual explanation following a crushing blow.
Under recent modifications made to the NFL's procedures for evaluating and dealing with possible concussions suffered by players during games, any player who stumbles or falls must be taken to the locker room for evaluation.
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He also warned that strict action will be taken against private buses who charge extra amount from passengers. Private bus operators were also finding it hard as they were not aware of the routes and where to stop.
Newton said after the game that it wasn't his head that had gotten injured.
This is the second time this season the Panthers are being investigated for their handling of Newton as it pertains to the concussion protocol. The Houston Texans were not punished for their handling of a concussion suffered by quarterback Tom Savage, although the National Football League and NFLPA concluded the outcome of the Savage evaluation was unacceptable.
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.
'NFL concussion protocol should have dictated taking out Cam Newton and examining him immediately after direct hit to his head, ' Pat Leonard wrote.
"I thought we had a chance to score on that last drive", Rivera said, "and I kind of feel like that was taken away from us".
"I've just got to be better", Newton said. "And again, from that point on I don't think anything else needs to be said about it". "We're going to send him a nice little bottle of Jordan wine".