In the midst of another season where concussions have ruled the conversation around the league, it appears that the NFL has decided to change its concussion protocol mid-stream. The league made some concrete changes this past weekend. And they could very well help teams overcome issues with implementing the concussion protocol itself. Reporter stated: “As of last weekend, some changes were made to league’s concussion protocol including placement of a central Neurotrauma Consultant in the NFL command center for broadcast oversight, confirmed Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer”. This actually makes a ton of sense. If there’s a consultant at the command center for games, it could help the league catch what those on the field don’t see. An example would be Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson avoiding getting checked for a concussion earlier this season, which led directly to a $100,000 fine for the team.
Wide receiver Breshad Perriman hasn’t lived up to expectations since the Ravens took him in the first round of the 2015 draft, something that was illustrated by the reaction of the home fans to Perriman’s first catch in Saturday’s win over the Colts. The crowd reacted with a sarcastic cheer for the eight-yard grab, which Perriman said didn’t bother him. It did bother his teammate Mike Wallace: “That [stuff] is disrespectful. I don’t agree with that. I would have flipped them the bird, everybody, if that was me. I’m happy he’s not like me. I would have turned around and flipped the bird to the whole stadium. That’s just me. I don’t care who likes it or how they feel. That’s disrespectful. They’re acting like he’s trying to have bad games. That’s the nature of the business though. To me, I feel like it was disrespectful, but you can’t get too caught up into it”. Wallace added that he thinks Perriman will make “big plays for us going down the stretch.” That would be a new contribution for Perriman, who has 10 catches for 77 yards this season, and one that might elicit more genuine applause from the home crowd.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will turn 45 on Thursday, but he’s not done playing yet. Vinatieri said after the Colts’ loss in Baltimore on Saturday that he has already decided he will definitely play in 2018. What he can’t say, however, is where he’ll play. Vinatieri is in the final year of his contract, and he could go elsewhere in free agency. He said: “Indianapolis is home to me and my family. I love the Irsay family, but I understand this is a business. I just know I’m going to play another year”. Although Vinatieri’s field goal percentage has declined for four consecutive years, he is generally still kicking the ball well. On a windy, rainy day in Baltimore, he just missed a 60-yard field goal, which would have been a career long. There is no doubt that Vinatieri will have multiple suitors in free agency, even as the oldest player in the NFL.
After Antonio Brown injured his calf, the working assumption had been that the Pittsburgh Steelers needed to earn a bye to get their All-Pro receiver healthy for a playoff run. The team is more optimistic about Brown’s calf strain: “The Steelers expected him to be 100 percent by the time they take the field in the playoffs whether or not that is the first round or whether or not they get a bye. This is an injury, it’s actually a calf strain despite being described as a partially torn calf muscle, really the same thing Mike Tomlin has called it, a calf bruise. This was described to me as a minor injury. One that actually has led Brown to tell people he could play in Week 17, if they needed him. They don’t; he won’t play. But that gives you an idea about how minor this is. They believe when he takes the field — whenever that is next — he’ll be back to himself”. The Steelers face the Texans on Christmas afternoon and close out the season against the Browns. Ending the season with back-to-back wins to earn a bye would make the parsing of Brown’s timeline moot. But knowing the game’s best receiver will be full-go when he does get back on the field is a sigh of relieve for the Steelers and their fans.