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Panthers Waive Safety J.T. Ibe Following Illegal Hit on Keith Kirkwood

Ibe's dangerous hit on Kirkwood paused practice for 10-15 minutes

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Tuesday morning, a scary situation unfolded at Panthers training camp when wide receiver Keith Kirkwood went up to reel in a pass from Sam Darnold over the middle of the field and safety J.T. Ibe delivered a blow to the head.

Practice was put on pause for roughly 10-15 minutes while trainers and other medical personnel attended to the injured Kirkwood, who was carted off the field to an ambulance. Shortly following the illegal hit, the Panthers removed Ibe from the practice field. Moments later, the team announced that they had waived Ibe. 

Quarterback Sam Darnold was unhappy about the situation and told reporters that plays like the one that happened Tuesday morning should never take place. 

"We're all praying for him out there," Darnold said. "It's a sad part about our game. We've got to do a lot better job of taking care of each other out here. It's practice, we're on the same team. It was just a sad thing to see and it was a hard lesson that we learned today. You hate to see that for anyone."

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule also voiced his displeasure for the hit calling it "unacceptable".

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"You can't tee off on somebody. That's not what we'll do. That's undisciplined by us and that can't happen." 

Kirkwood has suffered numerous injuries throughout his first four years in the NFL and appeared in just one game a year ago for the Panthers after re-injuring his left clavicle in a game against the Chicago Bears.

As for Ibe, he went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft and signed on with the Panthers in April hoping to make enough of an impression to steal a roster spot on the 53-man roster. Ibe played three years at Rice before transferring to South Carolina for the final two years of his collegiate career. 

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