After the game, Cam Newton and Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton left the game because he was having his eye evaluated.
The NFL and NFLPA are opening a review of the way the Panthers handled Cam Newton's injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's wild-card game against the Saints, the league announced Monday.
With about nine minutes left in the game Sunday, Newton was sacked and hit in the head on a second down play. As he tried to walk off the field he stopped and sat on the ground near the Panthers' sideline where team doctors attended to him. Newton left the game for the next play and was taken to the medical tent for concussion protocol. He returned to the game one drive later.
After the game, Newton and Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters that Newton went through concussion protocol, but the bulk of the time he was being evaluated was for a possible eye injury.
"There were precautionary concussion protocol things that happened, but it wasn't my head. It was my eye," Newton told reporters. "My helmet had come down low enough over my eyelid, and it got pressed on a player's stomach, I believe. I thought that maybe somebody had stuck a finger in my eye."
Rivera backed the statement and added that the team wanted Newton to sit on the field to be evaluated instead of walking off the field so quarterback Derek Anderson would get a chance to warm up before entering the game.
Newton threw a touchdown pass on the next drive when he returned to the game, but it was not enough as Carolina fell to the Saints 31-26. Newton finished the game with 349 passing yards and two touchdowns along with 37 rushing yards.
Earlier in the season, the NFL investigated the Seahawks for a potential violation of the concussion protocol after Russell Wilson left the field during a Thursday night game against the Cardinals and returned after one play. Seattle was fined $100,000 after it was determined the team did violate protocol.