NFL, NFLPA to review how Panthers handled hit on QB Newton

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The Carolina Panthers have come under fire after quarterback Cam Newton returned to Sunday's game after seemingly being knocked out - without being put through the NFL's newly-enhanced concussion protocol.

Newton ran headlong into New Orleans defensive tackle David Onyemata in the fourth quarter and was bowled over backward. "We are in contact now with the Panthers' medical staff and we will not comment further until those conversations are completed", a statement from the National Football League tweeted by Rapoport read. He led a touchdown march that got Carolina within one score, but their next and final possession ended with a turnover on downs.

"It was precautionary concussion-protocol things", Newton said.

The Panthers could be fined as much as $150,000 if the investigation finds they didn't properly follow the league's concussion protocol.

Panthers officials reiterated Monday that Newton was following instructions from the sideline to take a knee so backup quarterback Derek Anderson could loosen up.

Newton took the blame for Carolina's season coming up short of the Super Bowl. Although Newton had eight carries for 37 yards, he threw the ball 40 times, and the Saints feel better about him throwing than running.

Newton said after the game that it wasn't his head that had gotten injured.

The changes came in conjunction with a decision not to punish the Houston Texans for their handling of a concussion suffered by quarterback Tom Savage. The team wrote on its Twitter account: "Cam Newton has been evaluated for a concussion and cleared".

"But when he walked off and he told the trainers he got poked in the eye, then they did take him into the tent and checked him for a concussion, which he did not have", Hurney said.

Rivera told reporters Monday that he didn't think Newton had demonstrated any post-concussion symptoms. He was surprised to see Newton return to the game, he said.

Goodell and other NFL officials have said the league's concussion-related rules are created to put return-to-play decisions in the hands of doctors and medical personnel, without any consideration given to competitive concerns. "We romped him good". "I appreciate him. So I'm gonna send him some sauce", Jordan said - an obvious reference to Newton's earlier comments. Jordan said. "Look, he like spun".

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