Broncos duo fined for hits on Newton


Los Angeles (AFP)

Denver Broncos duo Darian Stewart and Brandon Marshall have been slapped with fines following late hits on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in last week's stormy NFL season opener, reports said Wednesday.

Stewart was fined $18,231 for his brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Newton which came with just under 40 seconds left to play in the game, won 21-20 by the Broncos.

Marshall's third quarter hit was not penalised at the time but he was fined $24,309 for impermissible use of the helmet, ESPN reported.

The rough-house treatment dished out to Newton in the match dominated the post-game discussion, with critics saying officials failed to adhere to the NFL's own concussion protocols by allowing the quarterback to continue.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association both said they were probing the response by medical personnel during the game.

Newton's father, Cecil, meanwhile said the family was "grossly disturbed" by the repeated hits his son suffered.

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak however has defended his players, denying suggestions that Denver had played "dirty."

"I disagree," Kubiak said. "We play hard, we're going to continue to play hard."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera meanwhile said he believed Newton's imposing size -- he stands 6ft 5ins and weighs 245lb -- meant he was given the same protection by officials afforded to other quarterbacks.

"It's kind of like Shaquille O'Neal. He's a big, physical basketball player and he goes to set a pick and they fall down and they call a foul on him. Then he goes to shoot a layup and gets hacked and hammered and they don't call it," Rivera said.