Quarterback Cam Newton took at least four helmet-to-helmet hits in the Panthers’ season-opening loss to Denver on Thursday, but officials only flagged the Broncos once. That led Panthers head coach Ron Rivera to opine Friday that refs discriminate against the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Newton because of his size (via David Newton of ESPN).
“There’s a little bit of prejudice to that,” stated Rivera. “It’s kind of like what happened to [former NBA star] Shaquille O’Neal. Here’s a big, physical basketball player and he goes to set a pick, a guy falls down and they call a foul on him. He goes to shoot a little layup and gets hacked and hammered and they don’t call it.”
On whether proper concussion protocol was followed with the banged-up Newton, Rivera added, “I’m not going to question the doctors. OK?” There is a protocol. There is a set of rules that these doctors, these trained professionals have to follow. The understanding is when everything first happened, they followed the protocol.”
According to Battista (Twitter links here), medical officials checked on Newton during a stoppage late in the game and determined that he did not have a concussion. Officials have since examined Newton several more times, including Friday, and still haven’t seen concussion symptoms.
Here’s more from the NFC South:
- Guard Jahri Evans’ one-year deal with the Saints is worth $1MM and contains no guarantees or signing bonus, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets.
- Wide receiver Cecil Shorts‘ contract with the Buccaneers is a one-year, $1.05MM pact, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). He’ll also earn a $15K+ roster bonus for each game he’s active.
- Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims worked out for the Falcons as a running back, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be signing him at this time, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets.
Connor Byrne contributed to this post.