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McCoy was never tested for concussion

Associated Press / December 15, 2011
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Although James Harrison’s devastating, illegal hit on Colt McCoy was witnessed by millions on television and thousands at Heinz Field, Cleveland’s medical staff did not realize the severity of the blow when they treated the Browns quarterback.

That was the explanation given by team president Mike Holmgren yesterday, one day after NFL medical officials and representatives of the Players Association met with the Browns to discuss the team’s controversial handling of McCoy’s head injury and possible changes to the league’s policies on concussions.

Holmgren does not expect the league to penalize the Browns, who did not know McCoy had a concussion when they sent him back into last Thursday night’s game.

Holmgren explained McCoy was not checked for a concussion on the sideline after the hit because he wasn’t showing symptoms. Also, the team’s medical and training staffs were unaware of the impact of Harrison’s helmet-to-face mask hit because they were on the sideline working on other injured players.

McCoy was evaluated by medical personnel and trainer Joe Sheehan, who told Browns coach Pat Shurmur the QB was “good to go.’’

Holmgren defended the decision but acknowledged the injury may have been handled differently if the medical staff had seen McCoy get laid out by Harrison, who has been suspended one game by the league for his fifth illegal tackle on a quarterback in three years.

“I want to make something very, very clear here,’’ said Holmgren, who was at times emotional when discussing the topic and several others. “No coach that I know, certainly not our head coach, would ever overrule a doctor and put a kid in a game where a doctor said you can’t play.’’

Holmgren called the Browns’ medical staff “the absolute best in football’’ and praised the club’s handling of head injuries. Earlier in the game, tight end Benjamin Watson and fullback Owen Marecic were both ruled out by the staff with concussions. The Browns have had nine concussions this season.

McCoy was sent home before practice yesterday with a headache and it’s doubtful he will play this Sunday when the Browns visit Arizona. Holmgren has not yet spoken to the second-year quarterback, who was scrambling from pressure and had flipped the ball to running back Montario Hardesty when Harrison drilled him in the chin.

Holmgren said McCoy was “lucid and talking’’ when he was being treated and did not show any signs of having a concussion.

Manning throwing

Peyton Manning had some rare good news for the NFL’s only winless team: His ramped-up rehabilitation program includes more throwing. Coach Jim Caldwell said Manning has picked up his regimen, though the four-time league MVP did not practice with his teammates. Manning hasn’t played this season because of a nerve injury that caused weakness in his throwing arm. He had surgery in May, and when that didn’t alleviate the problem, Indy’s franchise quarterback had a more invasive surgery, a single-level fusion, on Sept. 8. It was Manning’s third neck surgery in 19 months . . . Eagles QB Michael Vick watched practice from the sideline, still sore from taking a beating in his first game back after breaking his ribs last month. He participated in a walkthrough but was a spectator in the afternoon when Philadelphia began preparations for the Jets. He is expected to start . . . Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s sprained left ankle remains in a walking boot and backups Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon are preparing as if they’ll play on Monday night in San Francisco . . . Titans coach Mike Munchak said he assumes QB Matt Hasselbeck (left calf) will start Sunday against the Colts even though the veteran only watched practice . . . Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb said he was able to practice “a little bit’’ yesterday after clearing tests evaluating the concussion he sustained in Sunday’s victory over San Francisco. He hopes to play this Sunday against the Browns.

Phillips on leave

Wade Phillips, who’s turned the Texans defense into the NFL’s best, will have surgery this week to resolve a kidney condition and will be away from the team for a week to 10 days. Phillips, 64, disclosed the medical issue but would not specify the condition, but said it is not life-threatening, is not cancer, and that doctors recommended that he have the procedure. Linebackers coach Reggie Herring will run the defense for Houston (10-3) in Sunday’s game against Carolina (4-9) . . . Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh rejoined his teammates after serving a two-game suspension for stepping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving. Suh said he wouldn’t change his game after his fourth fine from the league earlier this year. He said nothing has altered that mind-set. “I think I can pretty much stick with that, playing within the rules and continuing to play between the whistles,’’ Suh said . . . NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Jaguars from Wayne Weaver to Pakistani-born Shahid Khan, for a reported $760 million, giving the league its first minority owner . . . Jets defensive lineman Mike DeVito (left knee) and running back Joe McKnight (right elbow) returned to practice and are expected to play Sunday vs. the Eagles . . . Raiders receiver Denarius Moore (right foot) returned to practice. He had been out since Nov. 17.

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