NFL, NFLPA initiate review on Cam Newton concussion protocol

By Jesse Reed
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL and NFLPA have initiated a review to determine if the Carolina Panthers correctly followed the league’s updated concussion protocol following a nasty hit in the fourth quarter Sunday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this news on Monday.

“According to the policy developed by the NFL and the union, if it’s determined protocol was not properly followed, it could lead to discipline for the team.”

Newton had escaped pressure only to run straight into another defender. New Orleans Saints defensive lineman David Onyemata caught him completely by surprise and drilled him into the turf (watch here). Newton was in obvious discomfort, though he did get up eventually and started walking to the sideline. However, before he arrived, he collapsed to the ground and stayed there a minute or two before finally getting back up.

Afterward, he did not go immediately into the medical tent but eventually made his way in, spending roughly 90 seconds being looked at before emerging with an ice pack over his left eye. The Panthers announced Newton had been evaluated for a concussion and cleared, though per the NFL’s new protocol he should have been forced into the locker room for a more thorough examination.

After the game, head coach Ron Rivera claimed the Panthers told Newton to fall to the ground on the field to give backup Derek Anderson more time to warm up. He also said Newton was poked in the eye, which is strange because Newton wears a visor to protect his eyes. We strongly frowned  upon that explanation, which was suspect, at best.