The NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) will further investigate the Carolina Panthers' response to the head hits absorbed by quarterback Cam Newton in their season opener, contradicting the league's stance on Friday that the medical staff had taken appropriate precautions.
In a statement released on Sunday, the league clarified it will review all relevant aspects of what happened during Thursday's game against the Denver Broncos.
"The NFL is committed to the proper application of the Concussion Protocol," the statement read.
"In order to ensure that it is being uniformly applied across all 32 NFL teams, we have decided to initiate a review of the medical team's response to the Cam Newton tackle, under the procedure set forth by the collective bargaining agreement. Under that procedure, representatives from the league and the players association will review the relevant documents and video and interview the involved parties to ensure that the Protocol was applied properly.
"It is important to note that initiation of this process does not mean that we have seen any evidence that the Protocol was applied improperly, but simply reflects our obligation to ensure the health and safety of our players."
Newton took several hits to the head during the Panthers' 21-20 loss to the Broncos. Only one drew a penalty. He was never placed in the concussion protocol, though his postgame news conference was delayed because he was being examined by the team's medical staff.
According to coach Ron Rivera, doctors at the game, as well as the head referee, determined "based on their collaboration" that Newton was fine to keep playing and did not need to come out of the game. Rivera admitted he never considered pulling his quarterback and confirmed that Newton has passed four concussion tests since Thursday's game.