BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur defended his team’s handling of quarterback Colt McCoy’s head injury in a loss to Pittsburgh.
McCoy sustained a concussion from a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Steelers linebacker James Harrison in the fourth quarter Thursday. McCoy was replaced for two plays by backup Seneca Wallace before coming back in and throwing an interception. Shurmur said McCoy didn’t show any symptoms of a concussion until after the game.
Shurmur is confident the Browns’ medical staff followed the NFL’s strict guidelines on head injuries when they assessed McCoy on the sideline. McCoy told Shurmur “he was ready to go” before going back in. Shurmur was adamant that if McCoy had been symptomatic “he would not have gone back in the game — absolutely not.”
Shurmur said McCoy did not show any signs of having a concussion until he was leaving the locker room.
League spokesman Greg Aiello was asked in an email if the Browns followed protocol.
“We will review it with the team,” he responded.
Before McCoy went back into the game, Shurmur said the second-year QB told him “I’m ready to go.”
Shurmur insists the Browns, who have had several players sustain concussions over the past two seasons, abided by the league’s policies on head injuries.
“I feel very confident that if he wasn’t able to play we would have stopped him,” Shurmur said. “I can assure everyone that we followed protocol.”
Browns tight end Benjamin Watson and fullback Owen Marecic both left the game with concussions.
McCoy’s father, Brad, told the Plain Dealer that his son should not have gone back in the game. He said his son felt nauseated and “didn’t even know who he was.”
Shurmur said McCoy did not say he felt sick and passed all the necessary tests to be allowed to return to the game.
“I’m the father of a quarterback,” Shurmur said. “I understand the emotion.”
Shurmur did not criticize Harrison’s hit, and added he had strong feelings but did not want to discuss them publicly. Last season, Harrison knocked Browns wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Joshua Cribbs out of the game with hits to the helmet. Harrison was fined $75,000 for the blow to Massaquoi.
McCoy also suffered a bruised left hand.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press