Carolina Panthers

Panthers DE Kony Ealy in concussion protocol after hit

Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, left, speaks with head coach Ron Rivera as they walk to practice at Wofford College on Sunday, July 31, 2016 in Spartanburg, S.C.
Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, left, speaks with head coach Ron Rivera as they walk to practice at Wofford College on Sunday, July 31, 2016 in Spartanburg, S.C. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

A helmet-to-helmet hit in Saturday’s practice put Kony Ealy in the concussion protocol Sunday.

The third-year defensive end sat out Sunday after not feeling right Saturday afternoon. The hit came when left guard Andrew Norwell went to help block Ealy late in Saturday’s practice.

“The hard thing about it is it happened at the very end of practice,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “So as they’re trying to evaluate guys, Kony went upstairs, came in and they talked to him. They decided that they needed to put him in the protocol to make sure he’s OK.”

With fellow starting defensive end Charles Johnson getting a veteran’s day off, the Panthers had Wes Horton and Ryan Delaire take the first-team reps.

Kelvin Benjamin also sat out Sunday, which Rivera said was part of the plan to ease the receiver back into the fold. Receiver Stephen Hill (knee) returned to practice but didn’t do much in team drills.

Fullback Devon Johnson (lower back) missed his third straight practice.

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