The Panthers faced scrutiny about whether the team properly followed the concussion protocol after quarterback Cam Newton took a hit to the head in last Sunday's loss to the Saints, but it now appears there might be another fold to the story.
However, the question could become whether or not Newton should have been taken to the locker room for evaluations.
The NFL and NFL Players Association announced Monday they plan to conduct a joint review to determine if the Panthers followed the correct concussion protocol after Newton took a hard shot from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata midway through the fourth quarter. He was examined in a tent on the sidelines but did not go to the locker room.
The Panthers said Newton was poked in the eye and evaluated for a concussion.
Under concussion protocol procedure, a player "who stumbles and/or falls to the ground when trying to stand, unrelated to an orthopedic injury, should be sent directly to the locker room to undergo the standard locker room exam".
"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.
Earlier this year, the Seattle Seahawks were fined $100,000 after quarterback Russell Wilson was not properly tested.
Newton echoed coach Ron Rivera's assessment that Newton was poked in the eye. "He took a knee because they told him to take a knee so we could get the official timeout and Derek could warm up".
"There were precautionary concussion protocol things that happened, but it wasn't my head". My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe. According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, however, the reason Newton stumbled may have been due to a knee injury and not necessarily a head injury.