HomeNFLCarolina Panthers WR Keith Kirkwood stretchered off after hit by J.T. Ibe,...

Carolina Panthers WR Keith Kirkwood stretchered off after hit by J.T. Ibe, who was later waived

SPARTANBURG, SC – Reserve Security JT Ibe was relinquished by the Carolina Panthers shortly after he illegally hit the head of Keith Kirkwood, who sent the wide receiver to the hospital in an ambulance during Tuesday’s practice, the team’s first in Pads .

Coach Matt Rhule called Ibe’s hit, in which the South Carolina rookie led shoulder and helmet to Kirkwood’s helmet, “totally unacceptable” and “not what we’re going to do.”

“I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” said Rhule. “I just see how much work the guys put in, how important this time is for them. As a man, as a person, I don’t like to see someone lying there in pain. ”

Rhule said Kirkwood, a fourth year NFL player who he also coached with Temple, had movement in his legs and no pain in his hands or neck. He said the immediate report from Carolina’s medical staff was positive and called the trip to the hospital precautionary.

Kirkwood blew up trying to catch a pass from backup quarterback PJ Walker when Ibe struck. Kirkwood immediately went down and lay flat. There was an eerie silence as the coaches rushed over to stabilize the player on a board.

Players and coaches gathered and knelt. Silence enveloped the practice fields at Wofford College.

The silence was temporarily broken when the players gave a soft applause as Kirkwood was evacuated.

Rhule then rallied the team and kicked Ibe out of practice after discussing the hit with several other players.

After a 12-minute break, training was resumed.

Kirkwood missed most of last season with a shoulder injury and has had injuries plagued his career.

“We prayed for him out there,” said quarterback Sam Darnold after training. “We have to take better care of each other out there.

“We will all continue to compete, but of course you have to play it safe and stick to each other.”


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