QB Quinn admits trying to play through concussion

QB Quinn admits trying to play through concussion

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Brady Quinn had waited three years for another chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He wasn't going to let a concussion put him back on the sideline.

That's why the Chiefs quarterback admitted Wednesday to attempting to play through his second concussion of the season, which he believes happened when a defender's knee struck the back of his helmet in a game against the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 28.

Quinn remembers having vision problems after the blow, but decided to remain in the game, even though he was dazed enough to put on the wrong helmet on the sideline between possessions.

He never saw the Raiders' Rolando McClain while getting sacked later in the first quarter, perhaps augmenting the severity of the initial concussion, and recalled having ``tunnel vision'' and being unable to see the Oakland defensive backs when he threw an interception.

It was at that point Quinn was removed from the game.

``That's why I tried to stay in the game, because it was the first opportunity for me in a while,'' said Quinn, speaking for the first time since the injury. ``I tried to play through it, and that's my fault for not being smart about it.''

Quinn has already been ruled out for Kansas City's game Monday night at Pittsburgh. It will be the second straight game he's missed since becoming the starting quarterback.

The former first-round draft pick sustained his first concussion this year when he got hit while scrambling during a preseason game at Green Bay. Quinn said he blacked out for a few seconds after the blow, and then saw stars, but everything started to clear up after a few minutes.

The latest concussion seems to be lingering, Quinn said, giving him reason for concern.

``It's definitely a thought,'' he said, ``because it is the second one this year, and if you come back too soon, before your symptoms calm down, it does involve some risk.''

The very fact that Quinn refused to remove himself from the game typifies a ``gladiator-like'' culture that NFL executives are trying to change, and the lengths that some players are willing to go to maintain their tenuous grasp on a job.

The issue of player safety has been thrust into the spotlight amid widespread reports of dementia in former players, and with approximately 3,500 ex-players involved in various lawsuits claiming the NFL has mishandled or ignored head injuries. The scrutiny has resulted in thousands of dollars in fines handed out by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness.

The players' union has requested that the NFL place independent neurologists on the sidelines of every game and include them as part of the initial concussions examination protocol. For now, when a player shows signs of head trauma, immediate examinations are conducted by team physicians.

Quinn said he's currently being evaluated by Dr. Micky Collins, the executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, one of the leading experts in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes who have suffered concussions.

Collins helped design the ImPACT test now used by many professional sports leagues, including the NFL, to assess concussions and determine when an injured athlete can safely return to play.

Among the athletes he's treated for concussions are the Penguins' Sidney Crosby and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sustained two of them in a six-week span earlier this season.

``They're the best. When you go to try to find help in an area like this, with their expertise, they're the most advanced,'' Quinn said. ``They've put together a great plan to kind of rehab it and get it back to where it was before the hits.''

Quinn said that Collins put him through ``a litany of tests,'' everything from vision acuity to the strength of his eye muscles, and even how quickly he recovered after a workout.

He's been cleared for light exercise but not for contact.

``The doctors themselves don't really know when they'll be clear of concussion symptoms,'' Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said Wednesday. ``They test him and when he's clear, and he shows no residual effects, they can say, `Ok, you're cleared.'''

In the meantime, Matt Cassel will resume his job as the Chiefs' quarterback.

Cassel has been the starter the past three seasons, but lost the job after sustaining his own concussion in a game against Baltimore earlier this year. Cassel wasn't cleared for his next start, and Crennel gave the job to Quinn on a permanent basis following the Chiefs' bye week.

``I feel like I'm the starter until told otherwise,'' Cassel said. ``I'm excited about having another opportunity, and when Brady comes back and he's healthy, we'll see what happens.''

Nobody is certain when that will happen, though.

``I don't know. I'm not a doctor,'' Quinn said. ``This is my second one this year, and I think there's obviously a concern for those sorts of things. If you go back too soon, you have a risk of getting a third one real quick, and who knows after that.''

As for the long-term ramifications of the concussions, which have resulted in dementia and other problems among former players, Quinn said it remains in the back of his mind.

``It's something we're starting to learn more and more about,'' he said. ``They kind of do start to stack up when they're not treated in the proper way.''


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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

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News, notes and observations from the first week of NFL Free Agency

News, notes and observations from the first week of NFL Free Agency

A whirlwind week in the NFL, but that's come to be the norm when free agency opens. Actually, not even when free agency opens, rather the legal tampering period opening two days before the actual start of the new league year. 

A lot happened, and more to come, but let's try to make sense of it all. 

  • The worst keep secret ever finally got revealed when the Redskins held their press conference to announce Alex Smith as their new starting quarterback. Everybody knows about the trade, and losing Kendal Fuller, but this trade makes a ton of sense and Smith was a homerun at the presser. He doesn't care about image or perception, a refreshing angle from the passer, and seems quite prepared for his new role. Smith was great in Kansas City in 2017. If he can replicate that in 2018 for the Redskins, the move will be loudly applauded. 
  • We still haven't gotten total clarity on Smith's contract. My intel says three years are really guaranteed, so Smith will be on the payroll through 2020 at least. Doug Williams joked at the presser that Smith could maybe play until he's 40, and since he's 33 right now, that would be a long time from now. 


  • Smith was the headline, but the Redskins also held a press conference with new WR Paul Richardson. He was possibly more impressive than Smith, just because the young speedster was more of an unknown. Smith has talked at a ton of podiums and faced a ton of reporters. I don't know, but that might have been Richardson's first ever press conference with a room that had probably 100 or more people in it. Check out the video above. 
  • Richardson had a great line when asked about the dangers of big hits on passes over the middle: "They gotta catch me." He's right. He will get a lot of opportunities for the Redskins, and he should make things better for Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder. The Redskins wideouts did not get great separation in 2017, there are Pro Football Focus stats to back that up, and the offense got bogged down because of that. In 2018, with Richardson in place as a deep threat, defenses will need to react. 
  • The key to the Redskins offense truly succeeding in 2018: Jordan Reed. If he can stay healthy, the Washington air attack looks dangerous. 
  • Smart contract structure for the Redskins with Richardson. 
  • Zach Brown's contract is a 10/10 for the Redskins. A tackling machine that can actually improve from a strong 2017 season. Getting him back changed the entire tenor of Redskins free agency, as the team went from quietly sitting out the spending sprees (minus the Richardson move) to locking up their most important defensive player. 
  • Brown back, along with Mason Foster, gives the Redskins two strong inside linebackers. It's hard to remember now, but last September, that Redskins defense looked fierce. Injuries robbed the unit of a chance to completely gel and improve, but 2018 brings a new opportunity for that.
  • Offensively, the Redskins had to invest at wide receiver in free agency. The money for Allen Robinson got crazy and the team was smart to move forward with Richardson. He fits their desired profile: Young player coming off a rookie contract on a career upswing. 
  • The Redskins did not invest at running back, despite Jay Gruden and Doug Williams saying the team must improve at the position. Frankly, the Isaiah Crowell contract with the Jets was quite affordable, and he's a player some team sources had interest in. The Redskins do not have the luxury of taking a running back early in the draft, and I'd argue they shouldn't even look at RB in the second round. The Redskins should be focused up front on the offensive and defensive lines. A dream scenario: A player like Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne at 13, and then Ohio State interior offensive lineman Billy Price at 44. Price would have been a first-round lock but for a pectoral injury at the Scouting Combine. Medicals say he should be fine for training camp. Washington has shown a proclivity to draft players that slip due to injury concerns (Kendall Fuller in 2016, Fabian Moreau in 2017) and Price could fit the same mold. 
  • The vacancy at left guard has not been addressed, and wasn't going to be addressed in free agency, or at least not in the early days where the big money gets paid out. Washington has more than $26 million invested this season in just three players on their offensive line (Trent Williams at $14M, Morgan Moses at $5M, Brandon Scherff at almost $7M) and the team knows Scherff will cost more money soon. The Jaguars just gave Andrew Norwell $30 million guaranteed; the guard market has arrived. The 'Skins will want to keep Scherff, and to do it, they need to keep some cash on hand. That means the new left guard will either be a budget free agent find, or come from the draft.
  • To that point, the team viewed Spencer Long expendable. He was well liked by players and coaches, but has never played a full 16-game season and missed half the year in 2017. Also, the emergence of Chase Roullier helped the team move forward without Long. 


  • A bit of a surprise to see Trent Murphy leave, but he got good money from the Bills. Washington liked Murphy, and wanted to keep him, but not at the price Buffalo paid. 
  • What happened to Ryan Grant is complete junk. The Ravens are a first-class organization, but that was a bush league move. The guy has never missed a game in four years and now he can't pass a physical?!? C'mon man. Hoping the best for Ryan and will be interested to see if his represenatives seek retribution from Baltimore. 
  • Bashaud Breeland sure likes to keep it interesting. Why sign a contract if you know you have a hurt foot and can't pass a physical? Why would the agent not disclose that? Maybe it was disclosed, but that situation just seems so weird. The Redskins were never bringing Breeland back, something I reported as far back as December, but now it seems Breeland's next NFL team will have to wait to see when his foot can pass a physical. Bree is a good and funny dude, hope he heals up. 
  • Two crazy things from one draft class: The 'Skins NAILED their 2014 draft haul. Without a first round pick, they got five solid contributors in Murphy, Moses, Long, Breeland and Grant. But now, after their rookie contracts have all expired, only Moses remains with the team. Bizarre. 

  • Credit where it's due: The 2014 Draft belonged to a certain Bruce Allen. That was the year after the Shanahan crew was fired and the year before Scot McCloughan was hired. Credit where it's due. 
  • I think a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie deal gets done. I think a Junior Galette deal might get done. 
  • Ndamukong Suh is still out there. Just saying. 
  • So is Bennie Logan. Just saying. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!