Panthers await word on Kuechly in concussion protocol

Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly (59) and Kawann Short (99) wear a #51 decal on their helmets as they warm up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. The 51 is in honor of former Carolina Panthers linebacker and coach Sam Mills, who died of cancer. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Mike McCarn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly won't return to the Panthers' game Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles after being placed in the concussion protocol.

Kuechly, the former Associated Press NFL defensive player of the year, came out after he took a hit near his neck from Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks. Kuechly paused to squat down with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter, then walked to the sideline for trainers to test the range of motion in his neck before he jogged into the locker-room tunnel.

He didn't join the team for the second half and was ruled out in the third quarter. He missed six games last season and three games in 2015 due to concussions.

The Panthers also lost running back Fozzy Whittaker in the first quarter. He was carted off with an injury to his right ankle.

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