Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Panthers' Newton should have learned his lesson; he didn't

Cam Newton blew it Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers' quarterback sustained a concussion that he could have and should have avoided on a play that was both infuriating and remarkable. Newton did something he had explicitly said he would never do again. And by doing so he put his own brain — and the Panthers' season — at extreme risk.

With the Panthers down by 18 points early in the fourth quarter of what would eventually become a 48-33 loss to Atlanta, Newton was trying to run the ball in for a two-point conversion. For once, on an afternoon filled with frustration for Carolina, the play actually worked. A hole opened on the left side. Newton darted through it and looked like he would score easily.

And then he slowed down.

Call it gamesmanship. Or showboating. Or just bad awareness. But if he had stayed at full speed, Newton would have run into the end zone either untouched or only having to absorb a glancing blow.

Instead, by slowing down, the quarterback allowed Atlanta linebacker Deion Jones to smash into him with a helmet-to-helmet hit that you could hear in the top row of the stands at the Georgia Dome.

That was the infuriating part — Carolina's best player got hurt on a play that never should have occurred. Newton had already gotten a taunting penalty in the game. The slowdown looked an awful lot like Newton trying to taunt somebody again — despite being down by 18.

And here was the remarkable part — while Newton buckled from the hit, he somehow kept his balance, reset himself and dove to successfully reach the ball over the goal line. The conversion, somehow, was good.

But Newton's brain was not.

That play, with 11:42 left in the game, would be the last for Newton. He would go to the locker room shortly after that and be diagnosed with a concussion.

Head coach Ron Rivera, though, was asked if Newton could have avoided the hit by simply traveling at full speed into the end zone.

"Probably," Rivera said.

Look, no one ever deserves a concussion. But Newton does knows better than this.

Let's flash back to last December. At New Orleans, Newton was running for the end zone and was about to score — but he slowed down to enjoy the moment. Saints linebacker Michael Mauti leveled him at the 1, knocking him out of bounds. Again, it is a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Newton — who never missed a play in that game — would later tell the media that he had told a Panthers team doctor he deserved the shot from Mauti.

"I deserved to get hit like that, taking that foot off the gas," Newton said then. "But it won't happen again, any time I get an opportunity to score."

It won't happen again. And yet it did happen.

Just like in New Orleans, Newton was evaluated for a concussion. That time he didn't have one

This time he did.

Newton will have to go through the concussion protocol before he can return. The Panthers — whose medical staff is already under review by the NFL and the NFL Players Association for its handling of Newton following an enormous hit he took at Denver in Week 1 — will be very careful with the franchise.

There's no telling how Newton's brain will respond to what happened Sunday.

But what we do know is that Newton took an enormous hit he did not have to take. And with that one bad decision by the NFL's reigning MVP, the Panthers' entire season may have taken an enormous hit as well.

— Charlotte Observer (TNS)

Comments
Video: Swiss skier Fabian Bosch explains his viral escalator stunt

Video: Swiss skier Fabian Bosch explains his viral escalator stunt

Last week, a video went viral that showed Swiss freestyle skier Fabian Bosch dangling while hanging onto an escalator, arm outstretched, as a teammate rode alongside him."We had to wait until our apartment was ready, so we had to kill time, we got re...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Wardrobe issues cause Olympic stress for French skaters

Wardrobe issues cause Olympic stress for French skaters

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The first notes of Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You" had just played when Gabriella Papadakis suddenly became aware that people were about to see a whole lot more of her shape than she had planned. The French ice dancer’s glitterin...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Girls basketball: A look at Tuesday’s region games

Girls basketball: A look at Tuesday’s region games

All games at 7 p.m.Class 9AAlonso (22-2) at Orlando Oak Ridge (16-12)What to know: The Ravens must hit the road for the semifinals, and it could be a tough matchup. The Pioneers had no trouble in their district tournament and won the first region gam...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Bucs remains uncertain. But the veteran quarterback is still very much here in Tampa and still sharing his wisdom with younger athletes.In this case, they're much younger —...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

Live from Port Charlotte: First full squad workout

The Rays held their first full squad workout today, though RF Steven Souza Jr., did not work out because of a family matter. He had already reported to camp.More fallout from Saturday's Jake Odorizzi trade and DFA'ing of Corey Dickerson. This time fr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

Better ‘D’ starts at home with Lightning

TAMPA – The Lightning still might land that top tier defenseman it certainly needs by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. But if that player was wearing a Tampa Bay sweater Saturday, would the outcome against the Devils have been any different?The Ligh...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Boys basketball: Top seed Carrollwood Day dominant from start

CLEARWATER — Pressure, intensity and energy.In Saturday's Class 4A-4 district title game at Calvary Christian, Carrollwood Day's six-man rotation put the heat squarely and constantly on Tampa Prep. Playing up-tempo offense behind savvy poi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Rumor mill: What Lightning might do at trade deadline

Reports and rumors involving the Lightning leading up to the NHL trade deadline on Feb. 26:Feb. 17A smaller move could pay big dividendsIf you look at the history of recent Stanley Cup champions, their pivotal moves were subtle, not splashy, the Time...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Gators to start spring ball with two open practice sessions

Florida Gators to start spring ball with two open practice sessions

The Florida Gators will begin the first spring practice of the Dan Mullen era with two sessions open to the public.The team's March 16 and 17 workouts will be open for fans to attend. UF hasn't yet announced the start times.UF also announced that it ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Softball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Land O'Lakes (2-0)Up next: Tuesday vs. Wesley Chapel; Wednesday vs. Cypress CreekThe buzz: The Class 6A defending state champion is in a good position to make another run at a title. A majority of the starting lineup returns, including the Ta...
Updated: 3 hours ago