New England Patriots

May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson (17) does a drill at the team's OTA at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

  • Early in Wednesday’s joint practice between the Patriots and Panthers, Patriots wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson was knocked out after getting hit by Panthers safety Kenny Robinson on kickoff coverage. The hit left Wilkerson on the ground for a few minutes before he was helped off the field by the Patriots’ training staff, and the Panthers’ reaction started what ended up being the first of two brawls on the day.

    Following practice, Matthew Slater told reporters that Wilkerson was being “evaluated off site.” Wednesday night, PFF’s Doug Kyed shared that Wilkerson “is likely to miss some time with head injury but other tests from medical facility came back clear.” Jeff Howe of The Athletic added that Wilkerson suffered a concussion on the play.

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  • Prior to the injury, Wilkerson was competing for one of the final spots on the Patriots roster among a deep wide receiver group. He was one of the most-targeted pass catchers this summer.

    In order for Wilkerson to remain eligible to play this season, the Patriots cannot place him on IR before the final roster cut-down deadline. Players placed on IR before then are officially out for the season (as was the case with Malcolm Butler and Joejuan Williams). If Wilkerson is included on the initial 53, he could then be moved to IR and be eligible to return. The team could also waive him and try to get him back on the practice squad.

    As for the player who hit Wilkerson – Robinson was ejected from practice for the second time in as many days. He had also been sent off the field on Tuesday – along with Wilkerson – after the two started a fight during an 11-on-11 period. After practice, Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule didn’t deny the possibility that Robinson could be cut over the incidents.

    “I have to see [on film] what happened. But, you know, it’s two days now where practice was affected by a guy — so, we’ll have to talk about it, see where we are,” Rhule replied when asked if Robinson’s roster spot could be in jeopardy. Robinson has been with Carolina since the 2020 season.