Everything about the handling of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford’s status in the concussion protocol has been strange. It’s only getting stranger. And the NFL Players Association is paying attention.
On Wednesday, November 9, the Rams placed Stafford in the protocol. Coach Sean McVay, who had plenty to say about Stafford’s situation during his absence (possibly in violation of league rules), had no answers as to how it all happened. McVay would never even say that Stafford had a concussion.
On Friday, November 18, Stafford received clearance to exit the concussion protocol. On Sunday, he left the eventual loss to the saints for a concussion evaluation.
The concussion evaluation is still happening. The team has said Stafford isn’t in the concussion protocol, and that he’ll have more tests tomorrow.
It’s an odd situation, to say the least. The NFL Players Association is monitoring it, given that Stafford just exited the concussion protocol on Friday.
Rarely if ever is a day-after evaluation necessary to determine whether a player is or isn’t in the protocol. And if there’s any doubt, why not just put him in the protocol and require him to progress through the various stages?
With a game against the Chiefs in Kansas City next weekend, the Rams presumably would like to avoid having to wait for Stafford to migrate through the five steps of the return-to-play protocol before he can fully prepare for the game.
Still, there shouldn’t be anything strategic about the situation. If, as was made clear earlier this year, the union wants players to be treated like first patients, isn’t it in this specific patient’s interests, given that he just exited the concussion protocol, to put him back in it, for now?