Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy (12) gets up slowly after a play in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters today after his team practiced in preparation for their road game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Here are some of the highlights from the news conference:
Shurmur repeatedly avoided giving a yes-or-no answer today when asked whether the Browns' medical staff tested quarterback Colt McCoy for a concussion before he re-entered the game Thursday night. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison used his helmet to hit McCoy in the facemask with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter. McCoy was knocked to the ground and slow to get up. He returned to action after missing two plays. Shurmur said McCoy only complained about his left hand after he was hit by Harrison. Shurmur said he was told by medical personnel and McCoy, who's pictured to the left, that McCoy was ready to return to the game. McCoy did not practice today because he's suffering from concussion-like symptoms, Shurmur said.
An initial review by the NFL determined the Browns did not test McCoy for a concussion until Friday morning, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on "Sunday NFL Countdown." Shurmur was asked to address the report this afternoon. "We followed all the proper medical procedures," Shurmur said. "I don't know what got reported other than what you're telling me now, but we followed all the proper medical procedures, and that's where it's at." When asked if the report is incorrect, Shurmur said, "I don't know. I don't know what the report is. I'll go back and find out." When asked if the Browns' medical staff indicated McCoy was tested for a concussion, Shurmur said, "He was deemed ready to play, and he went back in the game."
Shurmur remained vague when asked the following question: After McCoy took the hit from Harrison, was he tested for a concussion by the Browns' medical staff before he re-entered the game? "He came off the field and our medical staff worked with him and he was told, I was told that he was able to play," Shurmur said. "OK, so that's where it's at. He was treated like any player that has an episode on the field." If McCoy didn't reveal he had a headache, would the medical staff possibly not have checked to see if he had a concussion? "Again, we're speculating right now," Shurmur. "We followed the procedures, and that's how I'm gonna answer it. We followed the procedures necessary to determine whether he could play. That's what we did." Was Shurmur referring to protocol and procedures in terms of concussion testing? "Sideline procedures to determine whether the man can play, and we followed them," Shurmur said. "And I think that's what's important. Hopefully that clarifies it." When told there was still confusion about whether "sideline procedures" was in reference to the team's medical staff examining McCoy's hand or testing him for a concussion, Shurmur said, "No, our medical staff works with the player, and they determine whether he can play or not. That's what they do. They work with him. There's communication. They look at him. They talk to him, and that's what they do."
Has Shurmur re-thought sending McCoy back into the game? "No, no. If a player's able to play, then I think it's important that he plays," Shurmur said. "But I do not want to put a player at risk. If he's not able to play, I don't want him out there."
A Browns spokesman said a member of the team's medical staff will not be made available to reporters.
Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace will prepare to start in case McCoy doesn't start. "Until Colt comes back, Seneca will take the snaps," Shurmur said. "I expect him to go in there and execute efficiently and hopefully lead us to a victory."
Strong safety T.J. Ward (foot) stretched and warmed up with the team, but he did not practice. "We're gonna progress like he may be available Sunday" Shurmur said. Ward said there's still no timetable for his return. He has missed the past five games with a sprained right foot and is still experiencing pain because of the injury.