Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said it's "very disappointing" to learn the New Orleans Saints placed bounties on his team's franchise quarterback, Cam Newton, as well as other players around the league.
"Obviously you don't like to see anything like that," Hurney said. "I think anybody can imagine how you feel -- whether it's your starting quarterback or any of your players (being targeted). Player safety is the number one issue in the league right now."
Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross called the Saints' actions "appalling," although he wasn't particularly surprised.
When Gross first heard the news that Newton was a target, he said, "The first thing I would say is that it shows how good Cam is -- that he makes your list of top four quarterbacks to go after. But I think the bounty thing is completely unprofessional. I'm happy the league has made it known it won't be tolerated."
In hindsight, Gross said he was not surprised by the Saints' actions.
He pointed to safety Roman Harper's late hit in the end zone on Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith last season after Smith had crossed the goal line for a touchdown in a Panthers' home game.
Harper was flagged on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct.
"A lot of times they were extra shovey or you could say even a little bit dirty," Gross said. "I guess when you look back on it and start connecting the dots it doesn't surprise me."