The Pittsburgh Steelers have had better luck with injuries in the past than they have so far this season. Sometimes that is even an in-game injury that briefly takes a key player out of the game, as happened this past Sunday when running back Najee Harris took an elbow to the helmet that left him slow to get up and drew the attention of the team doctors.
Harris was already in the process of going down after a low tackle that put him airborne, spinning, while Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Kyzir White came in to clean up. The only problem is that he led with his right elbow, which connected with Harris right up against his facemask. The running back’s head hit the ground with a slight whiplash effect, and he quickly found himself head down and on his knees.
“I ain’t trying to speak on that too much”, Harris told reporters yesterday when he was asked to talk about that incident and the subsequent concussion protocol tests he was subjected to, causing him to miss key snaps. “They just took me in for concussion protocol, and I passed. That’s all I want to talk really about it”.
The Steelers had to play with Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage in the interim, and things could have gone better. They did not have Harris on the field after they stopped the Chargers in a tie game on 4th and inches within field goal territory; they failed to pick up a first down.
The rookie was not happy about the whole thing. He was, frankly, somewhat uncooperative as he was being guided off the field. At one point, on the sideline, he even gave Steelers team physician James Bradley a bit of a shove, presumably out of frustration, perhaps after informing him that he would have to be subjected to the concussion protocol tests before he could return to the game.
But he did pass the tests and he came back in, and as far as we know, he did not have any recurring symptoms show up after the game and in the week of practice that followed. As far as he’s concerned, it was just a blow to the head that dazed him a bit, and I’m guessing he doesn’t feel he had to miss any more than a play.
As far as fines go, well, if we don’t hear about a fine for White today, it’s not happening. He was not flagged during the game, though that wasn’t the only shot to the head on a Steeler that wasn’t flagged. Cornerback Cameron Sutton also took one after intercepting a pass.