CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly was carted off late in the fourth quarter of Carolina's 23-20 win over the Saints on Thursday night to be evaluated for a concussion.
The three-time Pro Bowl player was hurt as he tried to tackle running back Tim Hightower and Hightower's helmet struck him first in the face mask and then possibly the chest. Kuechly laid on the ground for a while, then sat up and appeared to be visibly shaken as the cart picked him up to go to the locker room with 4:41 left.
He missed three games with a concussion last season.
The game got close only in the fourth quarter as the Saints, who trailed 23-3 after three, got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees and a 30-yard field goal from Will Lutz. Brees was 35-of-44 for 285 yards and the two scores, and he also had an interception.
Carolina got three field goals from Graham Gano, a 1-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Stewart and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Ted Ginn. Newton was only 14-of-33 for 194 yards.
Cowboys: Tony Romo asked for a chance to compete with Dak Prescott to regain his starting job at quarterback, but the request was never seriously considered. The request didn't offend or upset anyone in the organization. "It really has nothing to do with the ability of the player," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "It's just right now we've got a rhythm as an offense." The Cowboys have won eight straight. Romo will be active for the first time this season against the Ravens on Sunday as Prescott's backup after missing the first nine games because of a back fracture suffered Aug. 25. Owner Jerry Jones said it's possible that even with Prescott's play, Romo will remain with the Cowboys through the end of his contract. Romo is signed through 2019.
Chiefs: Running back Jamaal Charles had arthroscopic surgery in his left knee Monday after having the same procedure on his right knee earlier in the month. The Chiefs shut him down last month after he said he had pain in both knees. It is unclear if he will play again this season.
Dolphins: Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey has aggravated a hip injury that forced the former Gator to miss the season's first four weeks, raising doubts about his status for Sunday's game against the Rams and beyond.
Titans: Left tackle Taylor Lewan said he was fined $30,000 by the league for making contact with an official and he plans to appeal. He was ejected from Sunday's win against the Packers after he brushed away the hands of back judge Steve Freeman while Freeman was trying to end a scuffle.
Manziel case: Former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel has reached a deal with Dallas prosecutors for the conditional dismissal of a misdemeanor domestic assault charge involving his former girlfriend. A judge set another hearing for Dec. 1, when the case could be settled. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner — out of the league after two tumultuous seasons with the Browns marked by inconsistent play and headlines about his partying and drinking, including one stint in rehab — left the courtroom without responding to questions.