Bill Belichick: I’ve removed players with concussion symptoms even if doctors cleared them

New England Patriots v Green Bay Packers
Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he has taken players out of games because he suspected they suffered a concussion, even if the medical staff cleared the player to play.

I’ve definitely done that before. Oh yeah,” Belichick said on WEEI. “If I see a player that I think is not functioning properly that for some reason has not been identified, then absolutely I would [take them out]. I have done that. I would say not recently, but those are things that have happened at other points in my career.

“If a player doesn’t look he’s functioning properly, we evaluate him with the medical people. But even if the medical people were to clear a player, we still go through a coaching clearance to make sure he’s ready to play football and not just medically cleared. We’ve always had a secondary evaluation on that.”

The Dolphins are facing intense criticism for putting Tua Tagovailoa back in their Week Three game against the Bills after he stumbled to the ground with what the team said is a back injury but some believe was actually a brain injury.

Belichick has also faced criticism in his coaching career for his handling of players’ brain injuries, most notably from former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, who has said that he sustained a second concussion after Belichick told him to practice following his first concussion, in defiance of the team’s medical staff.

Belichick may have learned since that incident. The NFL has learned a lot over the years, but the Tagovailoa case shows there’s a lot more that teams need to learn.

20 responses to “Bill Belichick: I’ve removed players with concussion symptoms even if doctors cleared them

  1. He’s not lying. Remember when he removed Malcolm Butler from the Eagles Super Bowl before the game even started!

  2. Belichick’s is a revisionist based on his own track record but still he even said that if a player “dosent look right” in this case Tua did after halftime he came back wine the game, did post game interview etc.

  3. Belichick also removes players if they’re too good, such as Gronk, Brady, and Danny Amendola.

  4. Yeah Bill’s track record is a little spotty in this area but if that’s what he does now then good for him.

  5. Reading between the lines I think BB is saying if he thinks a player while medically cleared is still foggy enough to make mental mistakes and hurts the team he will pull them. It’s not necessarily for the players protection. But that’s better than nothing.

  6. Until that team removes whoever’s doing the drafting and signing of players, they’ll be a last place loser team. They will never compete with the real teams without an NFL QB on the roster.

  7. Not a franchise quarterback you didn’t. Especially when playing against the conference champions on a prime time Thursday night game. No team would have.

  8. Ted Johnson would strongly disagree. Bill made him play when he had a concussion on more than one occasion. Maybe diagnosis wasn’t as particular then as it is now, but the player sure didn’t look right. But you made him play, didn’t you coach Belichick

  9. I guess Bill conveniently forgets when Edelman got concussed in the Super Bowl and he kept him in even after he was running aimlessly like a chicken with its head cut off.

  10. I am a huge pats fan but Edelman concussion in the Super Bowl was clearly a case where the team needed him concussion or not. And that was fairly recent.

  11. ottosdad2012 says:
    October 3, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    I am a huge pats fan but Edelman concussion in the Super Bowl was clearly a case where the team needed him concussion or not. And that was fairly recent.
    ___________________

    Exactly, so why are you all so outraged at the Dolphins? Bunch of hypocrites!

  12. Belichick apologized to Ted Johnson and said “I ####ed up”.

    Johnson said he had serious lingering symptoms from his injuries.

  13. Belichick needs to remove Judge and Patricia.

    +++++++++

    What if both of them know more about offense than Belichick does?

  14. He’s so full of it. Look at Ted Johnson, Gronk, Brady and Edelman for things to the contrary. This piling on by other coaches is so unseemly and hypocritical.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.