After Keith Kirkwood was injured in the head, Matt Rhule, Panthers coach, gives a positive update. (0:37).
SPARTANBURG (S.C.) -- Reserve safety J.T. The Carolina Panthers waived Ibe shortly after he made an illegal hit on Keith Kirkwood's head. This sent the wide receiver to the hospital with an ambulance in Tuesday's practice. It was the first time the team had used pads.
Matt Rhule, Coach, called Ibe's hit by the South Carolina rookie with his helmet and shoulder to Kirkwood's helmet "completely inacceptable" and "not the way we'll go."
Rhule stated, "I don’t want anyone getting hurt." "I recognize the hard work that men put in and how important this time for them is. As a man and as a person, it's not something I like to see people in pain.
Rhule stated that Kirkwood, a fourth year NFL player whom he also coached at Temple had movement in his legs, and no pain in his neck or hands. He stated that the Carolina medical staff had given him a positive report and called it precautionary.
Safety of the Panthers J.T. J.T. Panthers safety AP Photo/Nell Redmond
Kirkwood was trying to catch the pass of backup quarterback P.J. Walker was the one who delivered the blow. Kirkwood instantly fell to the ground and laid flat. As trainers raced to stabilize Kirkwood on a plank, there was an unsettling silence.
The coaches and players gathered and took a knee. The practice fields at Wofford College were enveloped in silence.
Temporarily, the silence was broken by soft applause from players as Kirkwood was taken off.
Rhule then assembled the team and kicked Ibe from practice after speaking with several players about the hit.
After he was waived, Ibe said that he was so caught up in the moment that he didn't realize it. "I saw the ball, and he was looking at me. I wanted to stop it." He didn't aim for my head. I was simply trying to get the ball out."
Ibe said that he is "not a dirty play" and felt bad about the hit.
After a 12-minute break, practice resumed.
Kirkwood was injured in his shoulder last season and missed the majority of last season. This has been a frustrating period for Kirkwood's career.
After practice, quarterback Sam Darnold stated that he was praying for him. "We need to be more caring out there.
"All of us will continue to compete, but obviously you must play safe and keep one another up."