NFL to consider Cam Newton knee injury during concussion protocol investigation

Video of Dancing Sean Payton  from Shamar Allen's Instagram page

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

As the National Football League and players union continues their probe of the Carolina Panthers' handling of Cam Newton last weekend, they have another factor to consider - a knee injury to the Panthers' quarterback.

Adam Schefter of ESPN provided the update Saturday and noted the knee issue "was a contributing factor as to why Newton staggered to the ground and struggled to stay balanced" after he was hit in the head by Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata. Peat suffered a broken left fibula and a high-ankle sprain in the Saints' win over the Carolina Panthers during the wild-card round and has been placed on injured reserve. A source told ESPN that Newton would have been ready to play had the Panthers advanced to this weekend's NFC divisional playoff game. The NFL's enhanced concussion protocol requires players demonstrating vertical instability after a hit to the head to be taken to the locker room to be evaluated.

On the surface, that excuse seems like a hard one to believe, especially in light of how often the NFL's concussion protocol gets ignored for star players.

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

Newton returned for the next offensive series after missing just one play and threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to rookie Christian McCaffery.

The report also indicated that Newton underwent an MRI for the knee injury Monday, but it came back negative. "I thought somebody stuck their finger in my eye, but I've got my visor, so that couldn't happen".

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