- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The NFL said Wednesday the Carolina Panthers properly handled the concussion protocol for quarterback Cam Newton in the NFC Wildcard round. 

The Panthers faced a slew of backlash when Newton re-entered Carolina’s playoff game against the New Orleans Saints late in the fourth quarter after previously exiting the game because of a huge hit. Newton stumbled to the ground while trying to make his way back to the sideline. 

Critics of the NFL’s concussion protocol said the Panthers improperly handled the incident as they checked Newton on the sideline rather than in the locker room. 

But in a statement released Wednesday, the NFL said the Panthers didn’t violate any rules.

Mr. Newton did not display ‘gross motor instability,’ which would have necessitated a locker room evaluation in the Concussion Protocol,” the league said. 

Newton, according to the league, suffered an eye injury on the play and not a concussion. The Panthers quarterback also suffered a knee injury earlier in the game. 

The league also said the Panthers medical staff “acted with abundance of caution” and evaluated Newton for a concussion due to the nature of the hit. 

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