Roger Goodell sees progress in Cutler, Vick and Smith leaving games


No one likes to see three starting quarterbacks knocked out of games with concussions on one Sunday. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does see a silver lining.

Goodell said on Mike and Mike in the Morning that he believes progress has been made in the NFL’s ongoing efforts to protect players from brain injuries, and he said the fact that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith were all taken out of games and not allowed to return is a positive sign.

“What we see is progress,” Goodell said. “The changes we’re making are effective, but we’re not declaring victory. There’s still work to be done. We still have to make changes in our game, whether it’s rules or equipment, but the awareness has never been higher. What we saw this past weekend, as unfortunate as it is, having those injuries, they represented progress because those players left the game. They did not return to play. They’re getting proper care. Just maybe a few years ago, that wouldn’t have even occurred.”

Cutler and Smith did not leave the game immediately following their concussions, so it’s clear that more work is needed for getting players evaluated and diagnosed quickly. But Goodell said the league’s emphasis on concussion prevention is working, and it’s even working on defensive players who have learned not to engage in helmet-to-helmet hits.

“Players and coaches adjust when the rules adjust,” Goodell said. “I think they’ve adjusted to the game, I think they’ve adjusted to the changes. It always is difficult through that transition period, and you’re always going to have some people that may slip and make the mistake that we saw on Sunday night [when Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins delivered a helmet-to-chin hit on Cutler, drawing a penalty and a fine].”

Just as sometimes a player like Dobbins will slip, sometimes a player who suffers a concussion will slip through the cracks. And when Cutler and Smith can both stay on the field after suffering concussions, that’s an indication that the concussion has not been enough.

15 responses to “Roger Goodell sees progress in Cutler, Vick and Smith leaving games

  1. he also said fans really want a team in England…and from everything I’ve read, we don’t. so I have a hard time believing what he says.

  2. Five years ago these guys would have been trotted back out to finish the game. Is the NFL perfect when it comes to handling concussions? No. Are they better than they were? Yes. They need to keep improving their procedures to protect the athletes. No sport or paycheck is worth a permanent brain injury.

  3. Dobbins launched him self at Cutler
    and his fine should have been a lot more. week after week teams try to hurt Cutler with dirty hits why hasnt Lovie said anything? he should have had a melt down by now

  4. I’m sorry, but “progress” would be if hits like the ones Dobbins did actually didn’t happen.

    You’re going to get people going low at the last minute, causing head to head. You’re going to get players slamming their head into the turf after a fall.

    But a few years after this inconsistent crackdown started, that Dobbins hit shouldn’t be happening.

    And he should be fined more just for saying “he ran into me.”

  5. The very fact that we’re having this discussion – the fact that critics here are saying Goodell isn’t doing enough – is evidence there’s been progress. In years before Goodell, we’d have been cheering concussed players who stayed on the field and calling them “tough.”

  6. The next step is mandating that a concussion requires a one week trip to the IR, complete with permission to add a player for that week only.

  7. any game when vick leaves is progress! Can’t wait til he leaves the league altogether!
    The team looked much better once he was out! Hope he played his last snap as a eagle as well!

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