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Union visits Browns on McCoy issue

Colt McCoy

In this photo taken Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, trainers tend to Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy after he was hit by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh. McCoy injured his hand and was wobbled by a hit from Harrison during the Steelers’ 14-3 win. Two other Browns sustained concussions in the Browns’ 21st loss in 23 games against their AFC North rival. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


The new labor deal gives the NFLPA the ability to show up at team facilities unannounced in order to gather information about player injuries.

On Monday, the NFLPA took advantage of that right.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that union officials visited the Browns on Monday, four days after quarterback Colt McCoy returned to action two plays after a helmet-to-face hit.

Per Chris Mortensen of ESPN, a joint review of the matter will be conducted Tuesday, by the NFL and the NFLPA.

While the Browns have taken ample heat for their handling of the situation -- Mort reported over the weekend that the Browns failed to administer the SCAT-2 protocol for concussion diagnosis before allowing McCoy to re-enter the game -- Schefter’s report indicated that some players are pointing the finger at the union, including Browns player rep Tony Pashos and other members of the team. Though Schefter’s article doesn’t specify the reason for the players’ belief that the union is at fault, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita expressed regret in a statement issued jointly Sunday to Peter King and PFT regarding the union’s failure to address the issue of concussion diagnosis in the new labor deal.

“I think we may have missed an opportunity to properly address this as we were finalizing the CBA,” said Fujita, a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee. “Hopefully it’s not too late to get it right.”

Schefter writes that another member of the NFLPA Executive Committee -- Sean Morey -- resigned from the NFLPA’s Mackey-White Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, “citing a lack of action on the union’s part regarding concussion-related issues.”

That’s not good news for NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, either as it relates to a pending $1 million bonus for 2011 or a looming vote on his continued employment in March 2012. Though it’s unknown at this point whether Smith faces a serious threat of being ousted, it would be wise from him to aggressively push the issue of concussion diagnosis, both for his own preservation and because it’s the right thing to do.

Then again, pushing the issue now will only highlight the union’s failure to push it during the CBA negotiations. Regardless, it’s the right thing to do.