Panthers’ Luke Kuechly leaves with concussion-like symptoms

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly left the field with symptoms of a concussion late in the first half of Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Panthers said he is out the remainder of the game after being placed in the concussion protocol.

The 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has missed multiple games each of the past two seasons after suffering a concussion.

Kuechly ran into a Philadelphia offensive lineman charging up the middle on a second-and-4 play from the Carolina 6. He took a hard shot to his left shoulder and then went awkwardly to the ground.

Kuechly grabbed his shoulder as he ran off the field for a key third-down play. After a few minutes with team trainer Ryan Vermillion and the team doctor he jogged to the locker room.

He didn’t return for the start of the second half as the team officially said the Pro Bowl player was being evaluated for a concussion.

It wasn’t nearly as dramatic as last season, when Kuechly was carted off the field in tears in a prime-time game against the New Orleans Saints after suffering his second concussion in two seasons.

Kuechly missed three games during the 2015 season after suffering a concussion in the opener at Jacksonville. He was in the concussion protocol for three games last season after the Saints game and was held out the final three games as a precaution with Carolina out of playoff contention.