Official inquiry launched into handling of Cam Newton's concussion test; penalties possible

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association are opening an investigation into whether the Carolina Panthers properly followed the league's concussion protocol for quarterback Cam Newton on Sunday.

Coach Ron Rivera and general manager Mary Hurney said the Panthers followed the proper procedure, saying Newton had an eye injury and was not concussed.

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.

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 came out of the game for one play, was not sent to the specified blue medical tent and then re-entered and played the remainder of the game.

According to Fox Sports' Chris Myers on the broadcast, Newton's visor poked him in the eye, a odd explanation following a crushing blow.

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.

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However, the question could become whether or not Newton should have been taken to the locker room for evaluations.

'NFL concussion protocol should have dictated taking out Cam Newton and examining him immediately after direct hit to his head, ' Pat Leonard wrote.

"I can not believe the National Football League blew their new concussion protocol in the 2nd week with Cam Newton", Nowinski wrote on Twitter.

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said he could not tell whether Newton was displaying any symptoms of a concussion. He said after the game the issue was with his eye, not his head.

The Panthers' handling Sunday of Newton's injury drew criticism by Chris Nowinski, the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. We saw him rock back and forth. "But again, I'm not the doctor", Rivera said. Jordan said. "Look, he like spun". "I appreciate him for being that good ol' quarterback".