The NFL has asked the Carolina Panthers to explain their handling of quarterback Cam Newton, who was cleared to return after taking a bang on the head during Sunday's wildcard play-off loss to the New Orleans Saints.
"We did everything the right way", Hurney said (per the Charlotte Observer).
He was then taken into the medical tent but quickly came back onto the field, without having gone into the locker room, which is required after the National Football League updated the concussion protocol guidelines on December 29. A sideline evaluation in the medical tent is not sufficient, under the late-season rule change.
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Newton took a hard hit in the fourth quarter in which he claimed his helmet came down over his eyes and hurt his right eye. Medical personnel looked at him as a he took a seat, and Newton missed one play as Derek Anderson relieved him. Yet, a few yards from the sideline, he stopped and collapsed to the ground, going on all fours and staring at the ground.
Immediately after the game, which ended the Panthers' season, Newton and coach Ron Rivera maintained that Newton had been poked in the eye. "I know he still has to do his exit physicals".
Newton dropped to the floor as he left the pitch for treatment, and the league wants assurances that concussion protocols were followed correctly.