How quickly has the perception regarding concussions changed among those who follow the NFL? Already, there’s a presumption upon learning that a player suffered a concussion that he’ll be on the sidelines for at least a week.
It was the first thought that came to my mind upon learning that Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson suffered a concussion on Sunday against the Redskins — primarily since Jackson is on my fantasy team in my family league, where if I win the response is “he should win since he follows football for a living” and if I lose the response is “man, you must really suck at following football for a living.”
So, as expected, Jackson likely won’t be playing against the Falcons.
But there’s a twist. Instead of the Eagles shutting Jackson down, he seems to be shutting himself down.
“I don’t think I can go,” Jackson said Tuesday, per Sal Paolantonio of ESPN. “I blacked out.”
As Paolantonio points out, Jackson’s comments are the first evidence that Jackson was knocked unconscious when the 5’10”, 245-pound London Fletcher blasted the 5’10”, 175-pound Jackson after Jackson made a third-quarter catch.
The video suggests otherwise. Unlike running back Brian Westbrook, who clearly was knocked out the last time the Eagles played the Redskins, Jackson never stopped moving. It doesn’t mean he didn’t suffer short-term amnesia, but it appears that he never lost consciousness.
Moreover, Jackson’s candor strikes us as unusual, especially in the wake of the controversy caused by Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who made it clear that many players continue to wear their willingness to play with a concussion as a badge of honor — and that they regard those who won’t as wearing a suit of yellow feathers.
Maybe Jackson’s implicit message is that he’s not going to do whatever it takes to play until he gets paid. Really, is it a coincidence that his comments came on the same day that tight end Brent Celek signed a $30 million contract with $11 million in guaranteed money? Unless and until Jackson gets similar financial security, why take any unnecessary risks?
We know that’s a cynical take. But we also think that the agents of players who don’t like their contracts might be realizing that this new sensitivity to concussions has given them a way to take a stand without risking any consequence.