NFL to consider Cam Newton knee injury during concussion protocol investigation

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered a knee injury during a playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round last weekend, and the NFL will reportedly take that into account when determining whether the team properly implemented the league's concussion protocol.

The NFL learned about the injury while interviewing Panthers officials over the phone this week as part of its investigation whether concussion protocol was properly followed with Newton, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Regardless, the league is continuing to investigate the situation to see if Newton was indeed concussed and what, if any, steps the Panthers took to address that concussion.

Newton was checked for a concussion in the medical tent behind the Panthers' bench, but was cleared to return.

"According to the policy developed by the National Football League and NFLPA, if the Concussion Protocol is not properly followed the club is subject to discipline", he said in an email to Reuters.

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Last month, the Seattle Seahawks were fined $100,000 under the policy when it was determined they had not followed protocol procedure for a hit to quarterback Russell Wilson, which occurred on 9 November.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera told reporters after Sunday's game that Newton was poked in the eye. But when he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe whatever when he got popped.

Newton said after the game Sunday that "precautionary concussion protocol things" happened, but "it wasn't my head. My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach".

The Panthers quarterback went to the ground as he left the field but quickly returned to the game after missing only one play.

The report also indicated that Newton underwent an MRI for the knee injury Monday, but it came back negative.