A source close to the situation has told ESPN that the Seahawks violated the NFL’s concussion protocol Thursday when they allowed QB Russell Wilson to re-enter the game with the Arizona Cardinals without going to the team’s locker room and being cleared to play by a team doctor or independent physician.
The source told ESPN that the Seahawks likely face financial consequences, perhaps a fine of up to $150,000, because once Wilson was ordered off the field, he was required to go through the full protocol, which he reportedly did not. Wilson missed only one play.
Midway through the third quarter Thursday, Wilson took a hit to the chin from Cardinals LBKarlos Dansby, who was flagged for roughing the passer. Although Wilson did not appear to be concussed, referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson off the field for a test.
Wilson said after the game that he answered a battery of questions on the sideline. As backup Austin Davis entered the game, TV cameras showed Wilson briefly entering the blue injury tent so that his test could be administered in private. But he immediately turned around and left.
Wilson returned to the field for two plays before the Seahawks punted, then returned to the sideline tent for a longer period while the Cardinals had the ball. When Seattle regained possession, Wilson was back on the field.
“I got smacked in the jaw pretty good,” Wilson said after the game. “I wasn’t concussed. I felt completely clear. But my jaw was . . . oh, man, it’s stuck.
“I was down for a second, and I think Walt thought I was injured. I told him I was good. But he said I should go off the field. He did a great job. He made the smartest decision, although I was 100 percent fine. We went through the concussion stuff. I answered every question you could imagine.”
The NFL said Friday that it is conducting a “thorough review” of the situation, and later told ESPN that it has not yet started its investigation or come to any conclusions. The NFL and the Players Association will begin its investigation next week.