CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is in the league's concussion protocol, an expected development after the emotional scene that unfolded Thursday night on national TV at Bank of America Stadium.
Kuechly was crying and had trouble catching his breath while he was carted off with about five minutes left in the Panthers' 23-20 victory over the Saints.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Kuechly was in the protocol but offered little additional information Friday. It's the second concussion in as many seasons for Kuechly, a three-time All-Pro selection.
"It's all very concerning," Rivera said. "I'm not going to get into the speculation of all this stuff. I'm not the expert when it comes to that."
The Panthers are off this weekend. Rivera said he would have a better idea of the status of all injured players Monday when the team returns for practice.
Fines: Falcons rookie safety and former Gator Keanu Neal was fined $24,309 by the league for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews on Sunday. … Redskins defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins' roughing-the-passer penalty on Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford cost him $18,231. … Titans rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe was fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Packers. … Four players were nailed for $9,115: Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion for a late hit and defensive end Mike Daniels for unsportsmanlike conduct; Titans cornerback Perrish Cox for a hit on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the end zone; and Jaguars defensive end and former Gator Dante Fowler for a late hit against Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Gronk out: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will miss Sunday's game against 49ers with a chest injury, according to the injury report filed by the team. He was hurt on a hit Sunday against the Seahawks and didn't practice all week.
Cowboys: Receiver Dez Bryant (back) was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Ravens, but he was active and moving around fine in the locker room after practice, and was expected to play.
Dolphins: Center Mike Pouncey met with a specialist to figure out what's wrong with his surgically repaired left hip. The former Gator is dealing with his fourth hip injury since the start of the 2014 season; the team wants to determine the severity before deciding what to do next.
Packers: Two more starters will be out Sunday night against the Redskins. Coach Mike McCarthy said guard T.J. Lang (foot) and linebacker Jake Ryan (ankle) would miss the game. McCarthy said two other key injured players, tight end Jared Cook (foot) and linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), looked good in practice this week. They were listed as questionable on the team's injury report.