Panthers' safety kicked out of practice after hard hit to receiver Keith Kirkwood, who left in an ambulance


Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers held their first padded practice of training camp on Tuesday and that enhanced level of physicality may have been a step too far in one instance. According to those on the scene in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the session was stopped momentarily after safety J.T. Ibe leveled wide receiver Keith Kirkwood, who was eventually taken away in an ambulance.  

Kirkwood, who had two broken collarbones last season, was down on the field as players and coaches gathered around him. The medical staff then put a backboard underneath the pass-catcher and he was then carted off and taken away in an ambulance. The good news is that Kirkwood was moving his arms and legs following the hit, according to Darin Gantt of Panthers.com. Meanwhile, Ibe, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent back in April out of South Carolina, was kicked out of practice. In all, the pause in practice was said to have lasted 12 minutes. 

Kirkwood is entering his second season with the Panthers after signing with the club in April of last year. His arrival to Carolina reunited the receiver with Matt Rhule, who was also his head coach during his days at Temple. Those collarbone injuries limited his availability during his first season with the team, catching just one pass for 13 yards. Back in February, Kirkwood signed a one-year extension to stay with the Panthers through this coming season. 

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