The NFL and NFL Players Association will review the circumstances of wide receiver DeVante Parker getting removed from the New England Patriots’ game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night. According to a report by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the NFLPA has initiated a review of what was a bizarre situation in the 27-13 Patriots win.
Parker was wobbly getting up after a 10-yard reception in the first quarter, but the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant did not immediately stop play. Even with the wideout struggling to hold his balance and teammate Nelson Agholor frantically trying to get the officials’ attention, it took a Cardinals challenge of the previous play to stop the next one from happening.
A failure by the concussion spotter. DeVante Parker could not stand up straight after hitting the ground. Nelson Agholor took a knee and was flailing desperately to try to get the play stopped for Parker. pic.twitter.com/TtjfOqyEbH— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) December 13, 2022
“I care about my guys, and we know that that’s a serious thing,” Agholor told NESN following the game.
Parker eventually left the field during the timeout initiated by the Cardinals’ unsuccessful challenge, and headed into the blue medical tent. He was deemed questionable to return to the contest with a head injury before departing for the locker room and officially getting ruled out midway through the second quarter.
Him not immediately getting removed, however, is now subject to the league and player union review. It is not the first of its kind this season: following a Week 3 game that saw Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa return despite showing concussion symptoms, the NFL and NFLPA reviewed that situation as well.
The league and player union decided to make some sweeping changes following that situation. Not only was the responsible so-called concussion spotter fired, the existing concussion protocol was also modified to now include “abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech”.
Nonetheless, Parker would possibly have been allowed to stay in the game had Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury not thrown a challenge flag.
The wideout himself shared his thoughts in a social media post on Tuesday:
DeVante Parker speaks out on the NFL’s handling of his head injury (and thanks Nelson Agholor for his help). pic.twitter.com/6iKAK0pYYk— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) December 13, 2022
“When those plays happen, I think the players on the field and his teammates around him — because he’s right there next to him — usually have a better idea of how he’s doing compared to someone that’s 30, 40 yards away,” Patriots head coach Belichick told WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Tuesday.
“That’s a little bit of a timing [issue] there. You’re talking about seconds that are taking place. If you’re sure there’s something wrong, then you address it, and the players should address it right away. If you get a hit and it stuns you for a second or two and then everything pops back into normal, that happens plenty of times out there, too. I don’t think you want people running out onto the field after every play. But ultimately, I think the players made the right decision. I’m not sure how much of it was us, how much of it was the spotter.”
The NFL/NFLPA joint review will now try to answer that question posted by Belichick.