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Chicago Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after Sunday’s loss in Atlanta.

Brisker missed practice Wednesday, and his status for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets remains in question as he undergoes further evaluation.

Brisker played 53 of 55 defensive snaps against the Falcons but was twice pulled off the field to be evaluated for a head injury.

The first instance came on the Falcons’ opening series after the rookie tackled quarterback Marcus Mariota during a scramble. Brisker’s head slammed into the back of Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt during the sequence, and the defensive back was slow getting to his feet.

He was pulled from the game to be looked at but missed just one snap before returning.

In the third quarter, Brisker was shaken up again after helping to take down Cordarrelle Patterson on a short run. It seemed like a routine play, but Brisker grabbed his head and appeared to be in discomfort after he hit the turf. He subsequently was taken off the field before the next play to be looked at again. Still, he returned for the next series and finished the game.

He was not officially diagnosed with a concussion until Monday.

Two others Bears players — cornerback Kyler Gordon and linebacker Sterling Weatherford — also landed in the concussion protocol after the game. Gordon was helped off the field after Mariota scored on a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Gordon collided with Mariota at the goal line and stayed down. Unlike Brisker, though, he did not return to the game in the fourth quarter.

The NFL’s concussion-related procedures have been under heightened scrutiny this season after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagavailoa was allowed to return to the field after taking a big hit during a Week 3 win over the Buffalo Bills. Tagavailoa shook his head, stumbled around and was notably wobbly after taking that hit. But after the Dolphins medical staff and an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant assessed him, the team ultimately declared it a back issue. Tagavailoa finished that game and was cleared to start against the Cincinnati Bengals four nights later.

In that game, Tagavailoa was flung to the turf by a Bengals defender, hit his head and went into the fencing response, which occurs when the brain absorbs significant force.

The NFL launched an investigation and subsequently amended its concussion-related rules, prohibiting any player who during a game exhibits ataxia — abnormality of balance or stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue — to return.

“If a guy is visibly impaired, you’ve got to protect him,” Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow told the Tribune last month. “There’s a responsibility on both ends. (As) players, we have to be mindful of how we approach the protocols, but it also has to be executed to the highest efficiency.”

Still, even with heightened caution, a player’s desire to return to the field sometimes can complicate matters.

The NFL’s chief medical director Allen Sills acknowledged last month that, despite heightened caution and procedures, the possibility of players returning to the field after experiencing a concussion remains.

“We want to always err on the side of pulling players and evaluating them and keeping them out if they may be injured,” Sills told the Tribune. “Diagnosing concussion remains difficult. Even today in 2022, with all of our technology and all the understanding we have, we still have to rely very heavily on patient self-report symptoms.

“I’ve been a neurosurgeon for over 30 years, and I will tell you that there are some cases where the diagnosis is very easy and straightforward, but there are others where it’s very difficult to make, and we still have a lot to learn about those difficult cases and what is and is not a concussion.”

The statuses of Brisker, Gordon and Weatherford for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium will be worth monitoring as the week moves forward.


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Dynamic Patriots Rookie Gets New Nickname

Getty New England Patriots, Marcus Jones

One of the few bright spots in the New England Patriots‘ 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night was the explosiveness of rookie cornerback-turned-receiver Marcus Jones.

The dynamic playmaker got an opportunity to play offense against the Bills and took advantage of his chance to impact that side of the ball. Jones took a slot-receiver screen 48 yards for a TD. In case you missed the play, take a look:

#Patriots bring in CB and punt-return hero Marcus Jones on **offense**.

All he does is make plays. Speeeed. ????????

— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 2, 2022

It was the lone touchdown the Patriots scored on the day, and an example of the short game–the one Mac Jones insisted sucked–actually working. The Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard would love to see the Patriots use more offensive sets with Jones on the field. He mentioned a potential speedy package that would have Jones and fellow rookie Tyquan Thornton playing together.

That’s an idea that sounds exciting, perhaps something like the looks the Miami Dolphins give when they have Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle playing together. It sounded as if Bedard had similar visions as he dubbed Jones a “Baby Tyreek” in his assessment of the rookie’s potential on offense.

Jones still needs more reps if he’s going to impact the offense truly, but it would appear he is at least ready to be a gadget guy or decoy. After his 48-yard scamper against the Bills, opposing teams may be very aware of him any time he moves forward on the field on offense. As it s, Jones’ ability as a return man and big-play guy on offense might make him the most valuable rookie on the Patriots’ roster this season.

Around the NFL: The Denver Broncos Are Getting Big-Time WRs Back From Injury

Per the NFL Network’s James Palmer, the Denver Broncos are expected to have wide receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy available on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

#broncos are expecting to have WRs Courtland Sutton (illness) and Jerry Jeudy (ankle) available tomorrow barring any issues between now and kickoff per source.

— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) December 4, 2022

Sutton had been listed on the injury report with an illness, while Jeudy had missed the last two games with an ankle injury. The Broncos are 3-8 and can ill afford to be without another wide receiver. KJ Hamler is expected to miss extended time with a hamstring injury.

The Broncos are currently in last place in the AFC West and would need to win all six of their final games to finish the season with a winning record. This is probably not what Russell Wilson had in mind when he landed with the Broncos this off-season.

Around the NFL: Update on the Return of Chase Young

Washington Commanders’ young defensive star Chase Young is still waiting to make his 2022 debut after a knee injury in 2021 cost him a good portion of this season.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, YYoung is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. Young is expected to work out during pre-game to gauge if Young is ready to play against the Giants.

Washington DE Chase Young, still waiting to make his 2022 debut and listed as questionable for Sunday due to his knee injury, will work out pre-game to see if he can play vs. the Giants, but the Commanders have a bye next week, and if Young rests Sunday, he gets two weeks off.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2022

The Commanders may be wise to keep Young out of the game against the Giants. With the Commanders’ upcoming bye week, Young could get two more weeks to recover while only missing one more game.

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