Panthers will apparently claim a knee injury caused Cam Newton to stumble

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Following a big hit from Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata, Newton staggered to the ground and had trouble keeping his balance, which led to him being evaluated for a concussion on the sideline.

The NFL learned about the injury while interviewing Panthers officials over the phone this week as part of its investigation whether concussion protocol was properly followed with Newton, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That was a violation of the concussion policy the league had distributed just nine days earlier, which said any player who stumbles on the field had to get a concussion check in the locker room, not on the sideline.

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In December, the National Football League announced changes to its concussion protocol, including forcing players who stumble or fall to get evaluated in the locker room rather than the medical tent, except in cases of orthopedic injuries.

The Seattle Seahawks were fined $100,000 in December for failing to properly utilize the concussion protocol for quarterback Russell Wilson during the team's Week 10 game against the Arizona Cardinals. "They took him in there as a precautionary (measure) just to make sure".

Newton offered the same injury diagnosis as his coach at the time.

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Newton originally claimed he was poked in the eye on the play.

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