BY SPNW Staff 08:47AM 11/12/2017

Report: Seahawks violated concussion protocol

A source claims the Seahawks violated the NFL’s concussion protocol and could face a fine for not properly dealing with a hit absorbed by Russell Wilson.

Russell Wilson missed one play against Arizona Thursday night. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

A source close to the situation has told ESPN that the Seahawks violated the NFL’s concussion protocol Thursday when they allowed QB Russell Wilson to re-enter the game with the Arizona Cardinals without going to the team’s locker room and being cleared to play by a team doctor or independent physician.

The source told ESPN that the Seahawks likely face financial consequences, perhaps a fine of up to $150,000, because once Wilson was ordered off the field, he was required to go through the full protocol, which he reportedly did not. Wilson missed only one play.

Midway through the third quarter Thursday, Wilson took a hit to the chin from Cardinals LBKarlos Dansby, who was flagged for roughing the passer. Although Wilson did not appear to be concussed, referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson off the field for a test.

Wilson said after the game that he answered a battery of questions on the sideline. As backup Austin Davis entered the game, TV cameras showed Wilson briefly entering the blue injury tent so that his test could be administered in private. But he immediately turned around and left.

Wilson returned to the field for two plays before the Seahawks punted, then returned to the sideline tent for a longer period while the Cardinals had the ball. When Seattle regained possession, Wilson was back on the field.

“I  got smacked in the jaw pretty good,” Wilson said after the game. “I wasn’t concussed. I felt completely clear. But my jaw was  . . . oh, man, it’s stuck.

“I was down for a second, and I think Walt thought I was injured. I told him I was good. But he said I should go off the field. He did a great job. He made the smartest decision, although I was 100 percent fine. We went through the concussion stuff. I answered every question you could imagine.”

The NFL said Friday that it is conducting a “thorough review” of the situation, and later told ESPN that it has not yet started its investigation or come to any conclusions. The NFL and the Players Association will begin its investigation next week.



  • coug73

    Still looking for a complete game from the Cougs. O needs to score TD’s, Falk needs to stop with the IT’s in the red zone. O line couldn’t get the running game going. Great teams impose their will on opponents. Cougs need to bring their A game against the dwags or get knocked around and out of the North title.

    • art thiel

      Name a quarterback who would be cooperative.

  • B-squared

    I’m not condoning going against the concussion protocol, but by the way Walt and Co. were calling the game I had zero confidence that he made the right call on the field.

    • art thiel

      Two different things. Walt Anderson made the right call based on his immediate observation of Wilson’s response to an illegal hit. All other calls are the responsibility of a crew.

  • jafabian

    IMO, this is on DangeRuss. He’s the one who blew off protocols. He even said so post game.

    • art thiel

      Correct. But the team is in charge of the player, and bears ultimate responsibility, by collectively bargained rule.

  • wabubba67

    As long as Wilson was truly clear headed, I don’t mind that he came right right back into the game….even if it violated NFL rules. The Seahawks needed that win and Wilson had the offense in position to score. The Cardinals should not be, in essence, rewarded for hitting a QB in the head and Paul Allen can handle the $150,000 fine in exchange for a crucial division victory.

    • art thiel

      But your qualifier “as long as” speaks to the purpose of the rule: Neither ref nor player is able to make the judgment before the next play begins. The rule is written to err on the side of caution for player health.

  • Chris Alexander

    Unless I missed the referee publicly stating that he specifically said that Russell HAD TO undergo the concussion protocol, this should be a non-story. Russell said after the game that the referee told him he SHOULD go to the sidelines, not that he HAD TO. And Russell never said that the referee told him to undergo the concussion protocol. What he said is that the team put him through the protocol and my assumption, based on the way he phrased it, is that he means after they punted. Based on his comments, when he initially left the field, he was only worried about his “stuck” jaw.

    Now, given the fact that this IS a story, I fully expect the league to “send a message” by fining the team. But they need to find a way to make it more clear when a referee IS and IS NOT sending a player into the concussion protocol. Because in this case, I don’t think that it was ever clear.

    • art thiel

      Hard to say exactly. But clearly Wilson wouldn’t have left the field had he not been ordered to do so by the ref. By rule, that is the trigger for the concussion protocol. Player, ref and coaches had to know that. The testing requires more than a three-second tour of the blue injury tent.

      • Chris Alexander

        Maybe the team could blame it on Russell’s claustrophobia. There’s ample precedent given that he runs for his life every time the pocket collapses around him. Maybe the blue tent being lowered on top of him triggered an extreme fear of confined spaces ….

        • art thiel

          My guess is it was more a fear of being out of control of the offense,

  • Howard Wells

    why let THE most important long term asset of your corporation decide if he had a concussion?! ferchrissakes! the Seahawks showed how desperate “it” is by risking the entire operation with a one second in the tent then a pat on the back “evaluation”.

    • Howard Wells

      The management and coaching staff know how bleak things are.

      • art thiel

        If they don’t, we’re here to tell them, right?

    • art thiel

      Yes, the Seahawks are desperate. As are about 28 other teams. That’s why the protocol is in place, to keep desperate teams from making risky health decisions. Once in a while, the net scoops in a healthy player, but them’s the rules.

  • Lee Brunk

    I love Russ and the Hawks to death, but unless that tent magically led to Narnia, they are guilty as sin. Seriously, you gotta go back to the infamous series of NT “injuries” and miraculous one-play-later recoveries in that playoff game against Moon’s Oilers to find an NFL injury rule abuse as blatantly flagrant as that split-second trip into the tent.

    • art thiel

      I think even Inspector Clouseau could nail this one.