CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Unless audio surfaces to support Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's claim that referee Ed Hochuli said he "wasn't old enough" to get a call last Sunday, the NFL will not look into the matter further, a league source told ESPN.com on Tuesday.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told the NFL Network on Monday that Hochuli could be disciplined if the league found him to have said what Newton claimed. The league has found no evidence of that and doesn't plan to investigate further unless somebody steps forward with audio to support Newton. Blandino said he spoke with Hochuli and that the referee was "adamant" he did not make that comment.
"He told me that he said, 'The difference is you were running,'" Blandino said. "I think when you look at the tape, it does look like Ed did say that ... at one point. You can't see everything that Ed says, but he's adamant he didn't say it, and I think that's where we are right now and we're just going to kind of move on from there."
NFL Referee Association executive director Jim Quirk released a statement saying what Newton claimed was "not true."
"Not even close to being true," he said in the statement. "I'm not a lip-reader, but the short video clip I saw looks to me like Ed said very directly that 'you were running' and then shakes his head no. We stand by Ed that the accusation against him is totally false."
Newton, 26, thought a penalty could have been called early in the fourth quarter, when he was hit hard near the out-of-bounds marker by defensive tackle Tyeler Davison while throwing an incomplete pass.
When the two-time Pro Bowler asked Hochuli about the call, Newton said he was told, "You're not old enough to get that call."
"I looked at him like: '[Jeez]! I didn't think you had to have seniority to get a personal foul or anything like that,'" Newton said.
The video shows Newton stopping at one point and looking straight at Hochuli in what appears to be a state of disbelief at what the official said. Blandino supported Hochuli's decision not to throw a flag on the play.
"Cam was outside the pocket and he threw the ball on the run, so there are different protections for a quarterback that is running outside the pocket versus in the pocket," he said. "Outside the pocket you don't get the two-step protection, and so when you look at the play, Cam threw on the run, there was some contact, it wasn't late and it wasn't a foul."