During last Sunday’s loss to the Rams, Saints tight end Coby Fleener left the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter.
That development couldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who saw the shot to the head Fleener took from Rams defensive back Blake Countess while trying to catch a Drew Brees pass. What did come as a surprise was that Fleener was allowed to return to the game to drop a pass before anyone with the Saints or otherwise charged with watching for possible concussions thought he should be evaluated.
On a Wednesday conference call, Saints coach Sean Payton said that “the process took place in a good way” because Fleener didn’t immediately have any symptoms.
“It wasn’t until a play or two later — I want to say early the next series — where he was having more of a vision issue and as soon as Dan (Campbell), his position coach, realized it, we held him back and went ahead and had testing,” Payton said, via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Given the nature of the hit, the fact that Fleener clearly looked shaken up when he got back on his feet and the mechanisms in place for calling for an evaluation, it still seems like a miss that Fleener wasn’t taken to the blue sideline tent right away. This is the fifth concussion that Fleener has suffered while playing football across all levels and we’ll get a sense in the next couple of days where he stands in terms of getting cleared from the protocol.