D.J. Swearinger delivered a hit on Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker that infuriated Peyton Manning on Saturday.
So angry was Manning that he ran down the field and had what Swearinger said were “choice words” for the Houston Texans safety — and earned a flag for words he refused to repeat later.
Of greater concern, though, is that, while Manning’s reaction was unusual, the aftermath of the hit on Welker was not. He suffered a concussion and is now following the NFL’s concussion protocol. It’s particularly troubling because the concussion is Welker’s third since mid-November; he missed the last three games of the regular season because of concussions. His latest concussion occurred after he lunged to catch a pass in the middle of the field. His head dropped as he slid and Swearinger’s shoulder and forearm struck him. Welker bounced up quickly but waved to trainers, who took him out of the game.
Manning hit Emmanuel Sanders for a 29-yard touchdown on the next play and ran into the end zone to yell at Swearinger, drawing what the Broncos said is the first taunting penalty of his career.”That is a Hall of Fame quarterback. I respect him. There are some fine lines with hits. I could have tried to go low, but he ducked his head. .. What am i supposed to do? I made a Hall of Famer mad. The results are the results and that’s all I can do on that play.”
Manning had legitimate reason to be concerned about Welker and whether he can play an entire season.
“Obviously concerned about Wes, I just didn’t like seeing him come out of the game, a potential blow to the head, that kept him out a while last year, so obviously concerned about him,” Manning said.
When Welker returned for the playoffs, he was wearing a helmet with a shell designed to minimize the chances of another concussion as well as a mouthpiece. He told the Denver Post before training camp that he approaches his propensity for concussions philosophically.
“You make yourself solid and get in the the best shape you can be,” Welker, 33, said. “When I am sound and strong, it gives me that courage that I can take hits, and can go across the middle. But there are some things you can’t avoid. It’s kind of the game.”
H/T Bro Bible for the GIF