Newton says he didn't suffer concussion: It wasn't my head, it was my eye
Cam Newton insisted he was poked in the eye during the Carolina Panthers' loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton played down suggestions he suffered a head injury in his team's loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Newton struggled to make it to the Panthers' sideline after taking a hit from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata with just under 10 minutes remaining in Sunday's playoff game.
He dropped to his knees on the field before being evaluated in the medical tent.
The Panthers quickly announced he had been cleared of a concussion and he returned for their next series.
After the 31-26 loss, Newton and head coach Ron Rivera maintained the Panthers QB did not suffer a head injury but rather he was poked in the eye.
"It wasn't my head, it was my eye," Newton told reporters after the game.
"My helmet had came down low enough over my eye lid and got pressed by a player's stomach, I believe. I thought maybe somebody stuck a finger in my eye."
New NFL concussion protocol dictates players who show "gross motor instability or significant loss of balance" must now be evaluated in the locker room rather than on the sideline as long as those reactions do not appear to be the result of foot or leg issues. Under that definition, Newton should have gone to the locker room, but Rivera disagrees.
"He actually got poked in the eye," Rivera told reporters. “They took him in there as a precautionary [measure] just to make sure, but when he was sitting on the ground, they were trying to wipe whatever when he got popped. So that's what that was."
While the Panthers may have taken a extra step in ensuring Newton did not have a concussion when he was simply poked in the eye, the NFL could rule the team violated its new rule implemented last month.
"We are in contact now with the Panthers' medical staff and we will not comment further until those conversations are completed," the NFL said in a statement.