With the NFL increasingly sensitive to concussions and, more importantly, increasingly willing to pull players out of games who have suffered concussions, it was only a matter of time before teams began to use concussions as a way to gain a strategic advantage.
Benjamin Wallace-Wells of New York Magazine points out that the Giants apparently did just that to 49ers kick returner Kyle Williams on Sunday.
Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams said after the New York victory that the plan for attacking Kyle Williams was to, well, attack him. “The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him outta the game,” Jacquian Williams said, via the team’s official website.
Receiver Devin Thomas, who recovered both a muffed punt and fumbled return from Kyle Williams, agreed. “He’s had a lot of concussions,” Thomas said, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “We were just like, ‘We gotta put a hit on that guy.’ . . . [Giants reserve safety Tyler] Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up.”
Without Kyle Williams, the 49ers would have been down to their third option at punt returner, given that Ted Ginn missed the game with a knee injury.
It’s unknown whether he had a concussion or something close to one; in comments to the media after the game, Kyle Williams seemed fine. But the point is that, when a player has a history of concussions, he becomes a target for more.