Seattle Seahawks

Report: Seahawks violated concussion protocol by allowing QB Russell Wilson to re-enter game

(Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The Seattle Seahawks are expected to be fined for violating the NFL’s concussion protocol when they allowed quarterback Russell Wilson to re-enter Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals without going to the locker room and being cleared by a team doctor and an independent physician, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports.

After an official instructed Wilson to exit the field to be examined, the quarterback was required to go through the protocol, but he did not.

The NFL announced Friday they were conducting a “thorough review” of the situation, that could cost the Seahawks up to $150,000 fines.

The NFL and NFL Players Association are reviewing the situation together. They interviewed members of the Seahawks organization early this week and are expected to come to a decision within the next couple of weeks, according Schefter.

The play being investigated occurred after Wilson took a big hit to the head and neck area from Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, who was flagged for roughing the passer. While Wilson did not show any obvious signs of a concussion, referee Walt Anderson invoked his right to send Wilson off the field for a test.

But Wilson was in Seattle’s injury tent for only a few moments, missing just one play.

The NBC’s broadcast showed Wilson run to the sideline and sit down in the area where the tent would be pulled over him. But Wilson got back up before medical officials had a chance to check him out.

Wilson replaced backup Austin Davis after the one play and was on the field for two more plays before the Seahawks punted. During the change of possession, Wilson again entered the tent and remained there for a longer period of time. He was on the field when the Seahawks regained possession.

“I wasn’t concussed or anything like that,” Wilson said after the game. “I was just trying to move my jaw. I was like, ‘Ah, man, it’s stuck.’ I think I was kinda like laying down on the ground for a second just trying to get my jaw, and I think Walt thought maybe I was injured or something like that. I told him I was good, I was good, and he said, ‘Come off the field.’

“I think Walt did a great job first of all. He made the smartest decision. I was fine, though, 100 percent fine. And then they finally went over through the whole concussion stuff and all that. We went through every question you could imagine, and I answered even some more for them just so they knew I was good, and then went back in there.”

The NFL concussion policy states that a player believed to have concussion symptoms cannot return to “practice or play” unless a team physician and an independent neurological consultant clear him. This season, the league added a blue sideline tent to allow the initial test to be administered in private.

The NFL investigates all credible reports of policy violations. Teams can be fined up to $150,000 for a first offense of violating the concussion protocol, according to a policy enacted jointly with the NFL Players Association in 2016. Team employees or medical team members involved are also required to attend remedial education.

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