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Report: NFL determines Browns did not test QB Colt McCoy for concussion until after game

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 11, 2011
In this photo from Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, teammates surround Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy (12) after he was hit by Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison in the fourth quarter of the NFL football game in Pittsburgh. McCoy injured his hand and was wobbled by a hit from Harrison during the Steelers' 14-3 win. Two other Browns sustained concussions in the Browns' 21st loss in 23 games against their AFC North rival. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Browns coach Pat Shurmur insisted the team's medical staff followed protocol when clearing quarterback Colt McCoy to re-enter the game Thursday night after he was hit in the facemask by the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

However, an initial review by the NFL determined the Browns did not administer the standard SCAT2 concussion test on McCoy until Friday morning, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported today on "Sunday NFL Countdown." Citing unnamed sources, Mortensen also reported McCoy's situation likely will be the catalyst to assigning an independent neurologist to each NFL game in the future.

When asked by e-mail whether the NFL has determined McCoy did not undergo concussion testing on the sideline Thursday night before re-entering the game, league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote, "We do not plan to comment on our discussion with the team."

With about six minutes left in the fourth quarter of the Browns' 14-3 loss to the Steelers, Harrison used his helmet to strike McCoy’s facemask and was penalized for roughing the passer. McCoy was knocked to the ground and slow to get up. He walked to the sideline with medical personnel and missed two plays before re-entering the game. (McCoy missed about 3 minutes, 50 seconds of real time from the time he was hit until he returned to the field.)

In McCoy’s postgame news conference, a Browns employee asked that the lights on the television cameras be turned off. But even after the Browns’ flight landed in Cleveland early Friday morning, a team spokesman told the Beacon Journal that McCoy did not have a concussion.

Later Friday, Shurmur said McCoy was suffering from symptoms of a concussion, but he did not exhibit those symptoms when medical personnel evaluated him on the sideline. Shurmur said McCoy complained about his left hand, which was bruised by Harrison's hit, but not his head.

Shurmur said McCoy told him he was ready to return to action before re-entering the game. The team's medical staff also told the coach that McCoy was ready to come back, Shurmur said.

"I can assure everyone that we followed the protocol," Shurmur said Friday.

The league has determined otherwise, according to Mortensen's report.

The Browns do not have anything to add to the comments Shurmur made Friday, a team spokesman said today. Shurmur is scheduled to meet with reporters Monday afternoon.

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