National Football League to look into Panthers' handling of injury to Cam Newton

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Critics have accused the Panthers of ignoring the NFL's concussion rules after the 28-year-old appeared to collapse moments after slamming into Onyemata's chest.

"Even if he was faking an injury to buy time, since he went down right after a massive head impact, the new National Football League concussion protocol dictates he had to go the locker room for a full evaluation", Nowinski wrote.

Newton was clearly shaken up, and as he walked toward the Panthers' sideline, he fell to his knees.

Interim general manager Marty Hurney insists the Carolina Panthers handled the medical treatment of quarterback Cam Newton "the right way" during Sunday's 31-26 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints.

"We are in contact now with the Panthers" medical staff and we will not comment further until those conversations are completed, ' the league said in a statement to NFL Network Insider.

He was taken to the sideline medical tent for evaluation for a concussion and cleared after missing only one play. He had the typical Cam Newton face on after a sack.

The Panthers later announced that Newton had been cleared to return to the game after being evaluated for a possible concussion.

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Jordan and the Saints will take on the Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round.

Ron Rivera said after the game that Newton had been poked in the eye.

Newton echoed Rivera's assessment that he was poked in the eye.

He added: 'I'm frustrated. "I appreciate him for being that good ol' quarterback".

'I just have to be better. "I'm going to send him some sauce".

But on Twitter, viewers shared memes blasting the Panthers for not following the concussion protocol. Although Newton had eight carries for 37 yards, he threw the ball 40 times, and the Saints feel better about him throwing than running. Newton later said he did NOT feel like he had a concussion, but suffered an eye injury from his helmet slipping down.

The Seattle Seahawks also were cited for mishandling a hit to their quarterback, Russell Wilson, earlier in the season.