Newton leaves game with concussion, doesn’t return

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) is hit by Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Deion Jones (45) during a two-point conversion during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

ATLANTA (AP) — Carolina quarterback Cam Newton suffered a concussion early in the fourth quarter and was not allowed to return to the Panthers’ 48-33 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Team officials confirmed the concussion in the last minute of the game.

Newton’s day ended after he ran for a 2-point conversion that cut Atlanta’s lead to 34-18. Falcons linebacker Deion Jones laid a clean hit on Newton near the goal line.

Coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t sure if Newton could’ve avoided the hit, which came after the QB pulled up in front of Jones in an apparent attempt to showboat.

Rivera refused to elaborate about Newton’s condition.

“All I know is they took him in to examine him,” Rivera said. “I purposely didn’t ask so I wouldn’t have to answer the question.”

Derek Anderson, who took Newton’s place, saw his teammate in the locker room after the game and said he looked “all right.”

Newton was not available to speak with reporters after the game.

Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, took four helmet-to-helmet shots in Carolina’s opening loss at Denver three weeks ago. Only one of the hits resulted in a penalty, but Newton later said he wasn’t concerned.

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was fined $24,309 and safety Darian Stewart $18,231 for helmet-to-helmet hits in the opener.

Newton took a similar hit last December at New Orleans on a showboating play. He passed a concussion test in that game and returned to help the Panthers stay unbeaten.

Newton promised after that game that he wouldn’t repeat the mistake.

“Again, I’m going to watch the tape, OK?” Rivera said. “And then I’ll see exactly how it happens.”

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