The Colt McCoy-James Harrison collision continues to reverberate with a report that Harrison could draw a one- or two-game suspension for the helmet-to-helmet hit Thursday night in the Cleveland Browns-Pittsburgh Steelers game.
In addition, the handling of the concussion that McCoy suffered — his father ripped the team for allowing him to re-enter the game — could bring about a change in protocol, according to another report.
NFL officials will discuss whether Harrison’s punishment will be a huge fine or a suspension Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. He was fined $125,000 last year for his helmet-to-helmet hits, which helped trigger stronger enforcement for rules violations. Harrison would be the first player suspended for player safety violations and the second suspended this season for on-the-field behavior. (Ndamukong Suh’s Thanksgiving stomp came after play was stopped.)
“From what I understand, once the quarterback leaves the pocket, he’s considered a runner,” Harrison said Friday. “All the defenseless[ness] and liberties that a quarterback has in the pocket are gone and you can tackle him just as he’s a running back. The hit wasn’t late, so I really don’t understand why it was called.”
McCoy returned after sitting out for two plays and Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he did not exhibit concussion symptoms until after the game, when he was sensitive to light. However, an NFL Players Association source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that initial handling of McCoy was a “blatant system failure” because proper tests were not performed. Mortensen reported that a “likely” outcome is the placing of an independent neurologist at every game, beginning next season.
McCoy did not receive the mandatory Sport Concussion Assessment Tool review, which doctors determined was abnormal, until Friday morning and McCoy was sent home to rest.
An NFLPA source told Mortensen that a “Maddocks Score” sideline review was conducted; it includes a series of situational-awareness questions in which a player is asked which half it is, who scored last, what team did you play last and so on.