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September 09, 2008
by Robbie Gillies
The Tennessee Titans' defense had an amazing game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Despite Vince Young being as inaccurate as ever before getting injured, the Titans defense kept them in the game. They held the Jaguars to just 189 total yards and a meager 33 on the ground in a big 17-10 win over a division opponent. One of the biggest reasons their defense was so dominant was because of defensive tackle Albert Haynseworth. Haynesworth had 2 sacks and 3 tackles and drew a lot of attention on the right side that enabled the interior players to be more effective. He played out of his head...literally. The Tennessean reports Haynesworth played with a concussion and after the game he said, “I remember the last play of the game and that’s about it,”
He teamed with safety Michael Griffin to pressure Garrard then stumbled to the sideline. He fell to his knees with his head on the turf and remained there for several minutes before moving to the bench. Medical personnel covered his neck with a towel and brought him liquids.
Haynesworth sat out for a series but returned on the first play of the second quarter. He said the staff wanted him to sit out, but he refused.
The NFL has tried to ensure the safety of it's players following concussions but when you hear a story like this you have to wonder. If the medical staff determined he had a concussion that should be it. He should be sitting out the rest of the game regardless of the game situation and what Haynesworth wants. The doctors should inform the team and the team should take his helmet from him or whatever it takes to keep him from thinking there is even a possibility he will enter the game again.
It's one thing for a player like Shawne Merriman to make the decision to play with a damaged knee but another thing when it comes to concussions. If Merriman seriously injures his knee and can't play anymore he at least still has his full mental capacity (although that might not be much given his decision-making) but head injuries are a completely different game and need to be treated as such. I hope the NFL stays true to their goal of staying vigilant against players playing with concussions and they look into the events that caused Haynesworth to continue to play despite clear signs of a concussion.