Carolina Panthers safety Kurt Coleman was fined $24,309 for a hit that staggered Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman two weeks ago, the same game that Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said Freeman appeared concussed.
Coleman never got flagged for the play, which happened at the 2:18 mark of the fourth quarter of the Panthers' 20-17 win. He was fined for what the league determined was unnecessary roughness and told ESPN's David Newton he plans to appeal.
Coleman dropped Freeman for a 3-yard loss after Freeman caught a swing pass from Matt Ryan. Freeman staggered off the field with the help of a teammate and the medical staff. But Freeman, who got hit by Coleman and Luke Kuechly earlier in the quarter and appeared to twist his leg on that play, returned after both hits and was on the field for the Falcons' final offensive play.
Discussion about the multiple hits Freeman absorbed at Carolina resurfaced when Davis took to Twitter this past Sunday during the Falcons-Cowboys game saying Freeman was concussed in Charlotte, and not as a result of a hit from Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens. Davis tweeted the following, which he later deleted.
"The Hitchens hit didn't knock Freeman out. He was concussed in our game last week and should've been taken out. Scary site but praying he's good though."
Davis followed up on his thoughts Wednesday.
"I feel [Freeman] was a little shaken up in our game,'' Davis said. "You can go back and look at the film. It showed that. They didn't feel like it was a situation where he needed to be taken out. I'm pretty sure the guys upstairs or the sideline guys, they assessed it and they didn't feel he needed to be taken out, so they didn't take him out.''
Falcons coach Dan Quinn dismissed Davis' claim, insisting Freeman injured his knee in that game and never suffered a concussion.
"He had a bruised knee in that one, and so that's what he was on our injury report for," Quinn said Monday. "I know he was evaluated on the sideline, but by no means was he put in a concussion protocol. So last week, any limitation he had was due to the bruised knee. Nothing past that."
Davis stood by his original tweet.
"If you look at both of those plays, there was some questionable stuff that he should have been evaluated with,'' Davis said. "They didn't feel they need to, so.
"You can tell an official, but if the guy is not showing symptoms by the time the official gets over there, a lot of time they don't do nothing about it. I guess he was fine by the time they came over there."
Freeman, who was knocked out the Dallas game in the first quarter, is in the concussion protocol for the second time since August and is expected to miss Monday night's game at Seattle. He is considering switching to the VICIS helmet, which was designed to reduce the impact on the head.
ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton contributed to this report.