Report: NFL instructs teams not to comment on concussed players

The NFL’s weekly injury report is about to become a little more vague each week.

With concussions a growing concern across football, the league has reportedly instructed teams how to respond to reporters’ inquiries about a concussed player’s health.


In a memo from executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent to all coaches and General Managers, the league has directed all teams to “refrain from making public comments regarding the condition of a concussed player or speculating as to when he may return to practice and play once in the concussion protocol.”

The memo also instructs teams to respond to inquiries about concussed players by saying “that the player is in the concussion protocol under the supervision of the medical team, and the club will monitor his status.”

Sounds like it’s time to get ready for an uptick in league-wide coach-speak when it comes to concussions.

Several high-profile players have gone through the concussion protocol this year, including quarterbacks Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, and Alex Smith. Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron is reportedly considering retirement after his fourth concussion in four years.

Earlier this month, Newton met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to express his concerns over his personal safety and the league’s officiating:

"It was a great conversation. I got my point across. He got his point across,” he said. “We’ll see Sunday and moving forward.” […]

“In the pocket, that’s all I’m asking for,” Newton said. “When running the football, I’m on my own. I understand that.”

In Carolina’s subsequent Monday night game, Newton was on the receiving end of several hits that coach Ron Rivera submitted for review by the league office.

Kansas City’s Smith says he understands Newton’s point.

"He certainly has merit in that argument that I have seen in that they were blows to the head, helmet to helmet," Smith says. "It’s hard to say, I don’t know that’s similar across the league or if he’s certainly at a disadvantage being so big. He’s such a good runner that all of a sudden he’s not getting the calls.

"I probably haven’t studied enough on that. In terms of the hits I’ve seen in the pocket, he very well could have had a flag thrown." […]

"Obviously players get held accountable for things that happen on game day. I think guys just want to see that across the board. They want referees included," Smith adds. "Those guys out there, there needs to be some accountability on that. I think everyone wants to be treated the same. If some quarterbacks are getting afforded certain protection, that needs to be across the board, regardless of how big you are, how mobile you are. It needs to get called consistently."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.