National Football League officials to review if Panthers followed concussion protocol

Cam Newton crumples trying to leave field in scary scene

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The Carolina Panthers are facing questions from the National Football League after quickly clearing Cam Newton to return to Sunday's playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

Newton dropped to the floor as he left the pitch for treatment, and the league wants assurances that concussion protocols were followed correctly.

He was taken to the sideline medical tent for evaluation for a concussion and cleared after missing only one play.

Head coach Ron Rivera and interim general manager Marty Hurney both said Monday they believe the Panthers acted properly after Newton took a big hit to the head in the fourth quarter of the 31-26 loss to New Orleans.

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. He briefly pointed toward his right eye.

The Bills had not featured in the play-offs since losing 22-16 at this stage in 1999, and had not reached the divisional round since 1995.

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According to the revised rule, a player is required to go to the locker room for evaluation if he is found to demonstrate "gross or sustained vertical instability (e.g., stumbling or falling to the ground when trying to stand)".

The NFL and union announced changes to the protocol last month in the wake of Texans quarterback Tom Savage returning to the field after having an apparent seizure after a hit. "But again, I'm not the doctor", Rivera said.

"You beat the Carolina Panthers three times in a year, I'm gonna have to send this guy a wine bottle", Jordan said of Newton, pointing to a bottle of wine in his locker. He said after the game the issue was with his eye, not his head. "I appreciate him for being that good ol' quarterback".

This isn't the first time the Panthers have been investigated for how it has handled the protocol.

When a reported noted that Jordan's sauce comment was a callback to Newton's joke, Jordan said, "Petty, right?" We saw him rock back and forth.

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