Greg Jennings: ‘Totally fine’ with how the Panthers handled Cam Newton’s injury

Greg Jennings and Tony Gonzalez join Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd to discuss the Panthers' questionable handling of Cam Newton's injury.

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COLIN COWHERD: All right, Whitlock, you OK how the Panthers handled the injury?

JASON WHITLOCK: 1,000 percent. And I buy them-- Gonzales is over here giggling. He doesn't buy the story. I buy it. I think it was Cam's eye.

I think when he was walking towards the sidelines, the trainer, the people on the sidelines, get down, get down. They wanted their quarterback to have time to warm up. It's common practice in the NFL. Look, and just at the end of the day, the concussion protocol rule is impractical. And everyone's, oh, they didn't follow the protocol, didn't follow protocol.

If I'm the Carolina Panthers, if I'm the NFL, I do not want Cam Newton walking into the locker room with three or four minutes to play and the game on the line. I want the competition to continue unless he's in some serious jeopardy. And I don't think he remotely was and so we can talk about the rules and oh you've got to take them. But again just like I said earlier in the show, it's a combat sport. People can sit and watch boxing, UFC, and have no problem-- oh god, are they safe? Are they going to have CTE?

We don't even worry about it. We enjoy the competition. Football, combat sport. You're going get your bell rung. Get over it. The players have. The fans don't really care. It's all this fake media outrage because they hate football, and they hate football players. It's a damn combat sport. Cam's a big boy. He can handle it.

COLIN COWHERD: I thought it was an eye thing. I'm-- about three times a year, it's usually a receiver-- that you'll watch a game and go, oh, get him off the field. And you can see it. It's obvious. Wes Welker for Denver.

JASON WHITLOCK: Tom Savage early this year.

COLIN COWHERD: Yeah. You're like oh, get him out of there. With Cam, it was-- he kept blinking. First of all, when he was on the field, a guy's foot banged into his helmet and the shield moved in. So this never to me looked like one of those, oh good Lord get him out of here. You know how hard you got to hit Cam? I mean, he's a six foot six 260 pound man. I felt it was an eye thing. That's what it looked like to me.

GREG JENNINGS: Yeah, I was totally fine with the way they handled it. Playoff game, they understand what was at stake. They knew-- they know that Cam knows his body. And then to your point-- and I said this earlier on Undisputed-- the trainers when you have an injury and it's at this point in the game, we need time. We need personnel changes to take place.

Give us a little bit time. Get down. That gives us more time to make sure Derek Anderson can throw some balls and we can get in his ear a little bit. It gives us more time that we can buy. If you just walk off the field, play has to resume right away. And so you don't have that same time.

As far as concussion protocol goes, every player, just because they get hit in the head does not-- should not be entered into concussion protocol. I mean, if you walk off-- sometimes you get hit and you're not concussed. You just got hit.

COLIN COWHERD: Yeah.

GREG JENNINGS: And you need to gather yourself. I mean, every time I got hit, if I would have walked off the field shaking my head you would've thought it was concussion protocol. But it's not. You just got to gather yourself for a minute and get back in the game. Yes, what he did--

COLIN COWHERD: That's a really good point. You get hit in football a lot. How many concussions did you have?

TONY GONZALEZ: Who knows?

GREG JENNINGS: Exactly.

TONY GONZALEZ: And I think that's part of-- the reason I was laughing when I saw it, because he said he got poked in the eye and the guy hit him with his stomach. I just don't know how you get poked in the eye from a stomach. That's why I'm saying-- and we'll never know-- but I'm thinking he got his bell rung. And that's why he had to go sit down on the side before he could get there. Now having said that, I agree with how they handled it.

And if that was me, even if it was a concussion-- even if it is a concussion-- there is no way I'm coming out that game. There is no way. And this goes back to the NFL. They're trying to protect the players from themselves. And you damn right, if that was me, you better protect me from myself because I'm a competitor.

We're in the playoffs. I've been playing all year for this. There is no way I'm coming out this game at this point. And this is what's going to happen for all players. And I would tell my players-- as a teammate, a coach can't say this-- but I'd be like, look, if you take a shot to the head, don't get up doing this. Don't get up doing this because they're going to take out of the game. You're not going to come back. I would fight everything in my power to look as straight as I can go to the sideline, and then come right back in the game.

JASON WHITLOCK: And that's what we're creating. More deceit, because of the rules. Because if you get your bell rung and you show any signs of it, we've now set up a system where you've got to be walked into the locker room. And you're going to be away from the game and away from playing for an extended period. And so now we're basically putting the players in the position where they're going to be dishonest because they want to compete.

Again, I just want-- why can we watch boxing and MMA and not sit there and go, oh my god, he's got his bell rung. They must stop the fight. Carry him into the locker room, and bring him back. Are somehow football players more special human beings?

COLIN COWHERD: By the way, football players are wearing helmets that are bigger.

JASON WHITLOCK: Yes. Are they more special human beings though, where they require an extra level of protection? Well, there's more-- their life is more valuable so we don't worry about boxers. We don't worry about UFC. But football players, oh my god. They may have some-- well, yes it goes along with playing a combat sport.

COLIN COWHERD: There's a certain code in football that you play through pain, and you play through injuries. In baseball, because there's so many games, you sprain a hand, it's like dude, take two weeks off, don't swing that, golf, the same way, there's another tournament. In football, the code is sort of nobody's-- everybody's hurt by week three. Like nobody on Tuesday in week four feels great. That's the code of football. The other code of football is dude, late in games, you just play. You just need to play.

TONY GONZALEZ: We've got to have you.

COLIN COWHERD: And by the way, many of the great broadcasters in our business did that. And then they're speakers and they're communicators and have been out of the game for 30 years. There are codes in the military. There are codes on Wall Street. There are codes in football.

JASON WHITLOCK: And I know I'm not, and no one else here is saying, we don't care about concussions and people's health.

COLIN COWHERD: Of course we do.

JASON WHITLOCK: It's a combat sport.

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