CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has passed four concussion tests after taking several helmet-to-helmet hits during Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos, a team spokesperson tells NBC Charlotte.
According to Steven Drummond of the Carolina Panthers, Newton was tested after the game in the locker room in Denver, on the bus to the airport in Denver, on the flight back to Charlotte and a fourth time on Thursday morning.
“Last time I talked to Cam was last night and when I talked to him he was doing pretty good,” said Panthers coach Ron Rivera in a Friday afternoon news conference at Bank of America Stadium.
The reigning NFL MVP took some big hits during the game - including at least four apparent helmet-to-helmet shots — were over the line, even though referee Gene Steratore and his crew threw only one flag.
That call was offset by intentional grounding in the final minute against Newton, who got utterly blasted on the side of the chin by Broncos safety Darian Stewart
“They determined based on what they saw, when they reviewed the tapes during the game, that he was OK to continue,” Rivera said.
There is NFL protocol and Rivera said "I do what the doctors tell me."
After getting blasted on the side of the chin by Stewart, Newton rose and completed two passes to get the Panthers in range for the winning field-goal attempt Graham Gano missed wide left from 50 yards.
“People react to big hits differently. Again, you're asking from my perspective, and remember I played the game, so whenever I see a big hit I always look to see how a guy reacts, how a guy gets up,” Rivera said. “And again, to me, it's my opinion, it's football.”
In a post-game news conference Newton said he didn’t feel he was being targeted and dodged a question about whether he received fair and adequate protection from Steratore’s crew.
Rivera said Newton’s size may be a factor. “He's an imposing figure and sometimes those don't look as bad on a big guy.”
Rivera added he would, “love to see him start getting some of that veteran favoritism, that'd be cool.”
Tom Pelissero, USA TODAY Sports, contributed to this story
Copyright 2016 WCNC