It is not very often that I write a ‘good news’ article pertaining to a team other than the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think, however, that this one is warranted, and I would imagine that anybody who saw the play would agree that what Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had to say was encouraging news.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco took a hard hit to the head while attempting a slide following a nine-yard scramble on Sunday night. The blow—delivered by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso—was powerful enough to dislodge the quarterback’s helmet with ease, and also cut his ear, requiring stitches.
Most disturbing, however, was the immediacy of Flacco’s seeming awareness that something was very wrong. As soon as he possibly could, he attempted to signal for aid, trying to raise his finger as his eyes unfocused, attempting to do so twice before he was successful.
He was exhibiting all of the tell-tale visible signs of a concussion, and it is no surprise that he was taken out of that game. But just four days after the hit, his head coach reported that Flacco’s “symptoms are zero”.
This is of course just the beginning of the road back. There is a long way to go before he can be ruled eligible to return. Concussions are tricky, and routinely defy neat categorization, as different individuals are affected differently, and exhibit different symptoms, and different triggers.
Harbaugh expects that Flacco will return to practice this week, and if he does not have any setbacks, then we might see him back on the field sooner rather than later. “I think there’s a good chance he’ll play”, his head coach said.
Ordinarily, I would not be overly ecstatic about the Ravens getting their quarterback back—even if he has been among the worst quarterbacks, statistically, in the league this year—but when doing so means that he is asymptomatic of concussions after taking a nasty hit, I’ll admit that it makes me happy to see.
Baltimore has had very little luck of the good variety this year, and a few extra helpings of its counterpart. That even extended to Flacco missing training camp and the preseason with an injury. Seeing him take that hit was something of a cherry of misery on top of the sadness sundae.
For what it’s worth, Jamison Hensley reports that he was told by former Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta that Alonso communicated with Flacco on Friday to offer an apology for the hit. Immediately after delivering it, he was actually somewhat confrontational, arguing with Harbaugh on the field.
He was also shoved hard to the ground by a Ravens lineman, and even today many in internet discussions are still debating on whether or not Flacco slid too late to afford him the protections that go along with the action. But either way, it’s good to hear that he is on his way back, and that Alonso has shown remorse.