NFC South Notes: Newton, Evans, Shorts

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.”

The NFL admitted Friday that a helmet-to-helmet shot Newton took from Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall should have been called, per Judy Battista of (on Twitter).

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 (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 tweets.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

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5 comments on “NFC South Notes: Newton, Evans, Shorts

  1. Giants51

    Mister showboat got a ass whipping….. His silly new dance did nothing….. Grow up and play the game…….

      • TheMichigan

        But he did get his ass whooped, if you watched the game, he was sacked like 4 times and was hit 17. Carolina’s o-line looked like a bunch of JV high school players out there. He had average yards with 2 TD, also threw a pick, but in all seriousness you would think latest MVP would be able to beat a 7th round Northwestern product

  2. weekapaug09

    The NFL either needs to actually flag that sort of head hunting or admit that they don’t care about player safety. We know they don’t but you can’t make it a huge point of focus then let that happen in literally the first game of the season. All 4 could’ve been penalties, easily.

    Not blaming the refs for the outcome. Denver also got screwed with that bs hands to the face call late in the game.

    You just can’t let the players be this openly dirty and even pretend to care.

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