The Pittsburgh Steelers announced yesterday that tight end Ladarius Green, who was their ‘splash’ free agent signing, arriving courtesy of a four-year, $20 million deal, is going to at least begin the 2015 regular season on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List after he has failed to seemingly come close to returning to practice through three weeks of the preseason.
Green was signed back in March with the team knowing full well that he had undergone surgery on his ankle in the offseason, an injury that landed him on injured reserve to finish off his fourth and final season with the Chargers.
But there have been numerous reports, both from national writers such as Aditi Kinkhabwala and local press, namely Ed Bouchette and Jim Wexell, who seem fairly certain at the very least that there is a belief among those in the know that Green is actually, or also, suffering from recurring concussion symptoms in the form of headaches.
What I don’t understand is this—were this indeed the case, and identifiable as an issue, then why would he not be subject to the concussion protocol? I certainly can’t imagine that it would have anything to do with the fact that he is already on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
Green has given several interviews, speaking to the local media after practices, but he does appear to meet the bare minimum requirements of ‘participation’ in this regard. From the league’s Media Access Policy, “concussion-related medical exemption from media obligations extends to the practice week until the player is cleared to resume activity, i.e. running, lifting, attending meetings”.
But if he is having reoccurring headaches, then why he is jogging out on the field every day, and not being sidelined and monitored? Why is the information not being disclosed by the team? From that same policy, it suggests that the team would be under some level of implied obligation to divulge that knowledge.
“Though the injury reporting policy does not begin until the week prior to the start of the regular season” it reads, “clubs are expected to update media on significant injuries that occur during the offseason program, training camp and preseason games”.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown suffered a concussion at the end of July and was placed in the concussion protocol thereafter. He cleared the concussion protocol and returned to practice, but experienced reoccurring headaches, and was placed back in the protocol.
While Green suffered concussions last season and played in game subsequently, the reoccurrence of symptoms should still apply to the concussion protocol—and frankly, if that is not the case, then that is a problem.
I can really only conceive of two resolutions here. One is that whatever sort of issue Green may have or had was either overstated or misreported. The other likely explanation is that he or the team in conjunction with him is concealing the information, whether intentionally or not, under the guise of ‘sinus’ issues that he has mentioned a time or two. And both possibilities are concerning.