The Eagles acted appropriately when it came to evaluating quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley and their concussions Sunday, according to the top doctor for the players' union.
Thom Mayer, the NFL Players Association's medical director, said he came to that conclusion after an NFL doctor spoke to the Eagles medical staff Monday morning to review the steps the team took after Kolb and Bradley got hurt. Mayer said he then spoke with the NFL doctor.
"It appears to me that they followed the procedure as laid out by the commissioner and by the NFL Players Association appropriately," Mayer said.
Mayer was watching the game on TV and saw the Bradley stumble that seemed to clearly indicate a head injury, but he said it is possible that he could have been OK to return. Both Kolb and Bradley got back in the game after suffering their injuries, but were soon pulled for good.
"The key is whether after that episode he returned to normalcy," Mayer said when asked about Bradley. Relaying information that was provided by the Eagles trainers, Mayer said, "He cleared very quickly, and that's the reason he was put back in the game."
Mayer said a concussion might not be immediately apparent. The tests for such an injury generally involve giving the player three words to remember, and then running them through a cycle of tests: seeing how their eyes respond to light and track, testing their strength, asking the player to run, and then, at the end, asking if the player can remember the three words. It all takes about three to five minutes, he said.
The NFL and NFLPA have recently stressed safety on head injuries.
Andy Reid moved to squash any quarterback controversy Monday, saying “Kevin Kolb’s the number one quarterback.”
Reid said Michael Vick's comments about perhaps having a chance to win if he had played four quarters, were not meant as a slight of Kolb.
"He was really saying that he kind of ran out of time there, he wished he had another quarter back and might have pulled that thing out there," Reid said.
Vick might still start Sunday, though.
It’s not clear if Kolb or middle linebacker Stewart Bradley will be able to play this week after each were diagnosed with concussions in the second quarter against the Packers.
“There’s a chance this week (Vick) might be called on, with Kevin’s situation,” Reid said.
Reid defended his team’s handling of the injuries to Kolb and Bradley, which came under question after both players were allowed back in the game after suffering concussions.
“I’ve got full confidence in (head trainer) Rick (Burkholder),” Reid said. “We stuck to the criteria there and then followed up on it. As we look at this, that’s the most important thing. We didn’t just stick them out there without having to follow the protocol, but we also made sure that we stayed on top of it when they came back off the field.”
The NFL has recently stressed safety when it comes to head injuries and in December issued guidelines that said any player with a concussion should not be allowed to play again on the same day.
One of the symptoms to watch for in the guidelines is “confusion as evidenced by disorientation to person, time or place; inability to respond appropriately to questions; or inability to remember assignments or plays.”
That led to questions about Bradley, who stumbled and fell after hitting his head on a teammates leg, but was still allowed briefly back into the game.
“I will tell you that when he came off the field and went through the protocol, the testing, I think he was clear minded, was able to pass,” Reid said.
Kolb and Bradley were both examined by team doctors Monday. They will also be examined Wednesday and Friday, until they are cleared by the team. After that, they must also be checked and cleared by independent Philadelphia doctor William Welch.
“There’s no pressure to get back in the game and go, that’s not part of this,” Reid said.
Reid declined to make Burkholder available to answer questions.
“I gave you everything that needed to be done,” Reid said.
After entering Sunday with a clean injury report, Reid listed off a litany of damage done in week one.
Most severe were the injuries to fullback Leonard Weaver and center Jamaal Jackson.
Weaver has a “severe” anterior cruciate ligament tear, Reid said. He is out for the year, as expected.
Weaver was on crutches at the NovaCare Complex Monday.
“I’ve never felt anything like that,” he said of the pain of the gruesome injury. “It looked pretty nasty.”
Weaver said it was “heart breaking” to get hurt at the outset of a new season.
Jackson has a torn triceps – not biceps, as Reid initially reported Sunday. He is likely out for the season as well and is scheduled to have surgery today. Reid said he would talk with general manager Howie Roseman about possible moves on the offensive line.
The team did work out two fullbacks: Jason Davis, who in the past has been with the Eagles, Raiders and Bears, and Owen Schmitt, formerly of the Seahawks.
Other injuries include: Antwan Barnes had a wrist sprain; Mike Bell had a toe strain; Brodrick Bunkley and Todd Herremans had ankle sprains, Trevor Laws had an oblique strain and Jason Peters has a knee sprain.