Panthers' J.T. Ibe Waived After High Hit Injured Keith Kirkwood During Practice

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2021

Carolina Panthers defensive back J.T. Ibe walks onto the practice field at the NFL football team's training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. Carolina Panthers wide receiver Keith Kirkwood was hit in the neck area during practice Tuesday, carted off the field and taken away in an ambulance. Defensive back J.T. Ibe delivered the hit on a pass play and was immediately kicked out of the team's first padded practice by coach Matt Rhule. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
AP Photo/Nell Redmond

The Carolina Panthers have waived undrafted free agent J.T. Ibe after a hit to the head against a teammate in practice Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Carolina was running plays during its first padded practice of training camp when the defensive back put a hard hit on receiver Keith Kirkwood, who needed to be carted off the field:

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Keith Kirkwood injury, doesn’t look good <a href="https://t.co/oYbBx1dnrA">pic.twitter.com/oYbBx1dnrA</a>

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Keith Kirkwood being carted off the field <a href="https://t.co/mnA0w6e8T6">pic.twitter.com/mnA0w6e8T6</a>

Steve Reed of the Associated Press reported Ibe was immediately kicked out of practice.

Kirkwood was brought to the hospital as a precaution, but head coach Matt Rhule said after practice the player has movement in his arms and legs with no pain in his neck, per Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer.

Kirkwood was later diagnosed with a concussion, per Darin Gantt of the team's official website.

Rhule elaborated on the situation:

Scott Fowler @scott_fowler

Matt Rhule called JT Ibe’s hit on WR Keith Kirkwood that sent Kirkwood to the hospital “completely unacceptable.”<br>Ibe was kicked out of practice; Rhule was obviously furious. Kirkwood does have movement in his extremities, thankfully, Rhule also said. <a href="https://t.co/9eDnixmRGc">pic.twitter.com/9eDnixmRGc</a>

"You can't tee off on somebody," the coach said.

Ibe was looking to make the roster after signing a deal with the Panthers in April. The 25-year-old spent his college career at Rice and South Carolina, totaling 61 tackles as a sixth-year senior in 2019.

Kirkwood, 26, has only played two games over the past two seasons because of shoulder issues. The 6'3" New Jersey native, who played for Rhule at Temple, had 13 catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns with the New Orleans Saints in 2018.