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Extra eyes to look for concussions

NEW YORK — The NFL is changing how it handles concussion examinations after Browns quarterback Colt McCoy went back into a Dec. 8 game without being tested for one.

A certified athletic trainer, paid by the league, will be at each game to monitor play and provide medical staffs with "any relevant information that may assist them in determining the most appropriate evaluation and treatment," the NFL said in a statement Wednesday. The trainers will not diagnose nor prescribe treatment and can't order that players be pulled.

Their presence is intended to assist team medical staffs in addressing a variety of injuries.

The trainer's "role will be to provide information to team medical staffs that might have been missed due to a lack of a clear view of the play or because they were attending to other players or duties," the statement said.

McCoy was hurt on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison late in Pittsburgh's win. He returned to the game after missing just two plays without being examined for a concussion.

After the game, McCoy was diagnosed with a concussion. He still has symptoms and hasn't played since.

Harrison, who was suspended one game after the hit, said he didn't understand why the Browns haven't been disciplined by the league for allowing McCoy to return.

"If he was hurt so bad, I don't know why they let him back in … two plays later," Harrison said. "Something should be done to them, I would think. I don't know. I got a game, what should they get?"

BEARS pull swap at QB: Quarterback Josh McCown will start an NFL game for the first time in four years when he lines up behind center for the Bears on Sunday night against the Packers, replacing Caleb Hanie.

BEN HOPEFUL: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he was optimistic he'll play Saturday against the Rams despite his injured left ankle.

PEYTON'S PROGRESS: Colts running back Joseph Addai said the velocity on Peyton Manning's short throws last week was game-ready. Manning is out for the season after having neck surgery Sept. 8.

BONUS FOR UNION HEAD: The NFL Players Association gave executive director DeMaurice Smith a $1 million bonus, the Associated Press reported.

BILLS: Tight end Scott Chandler, out two games with a left ankle injury, practiced on a limited basis for a second straight day and has what coach Chan Gailey calls "a decent chance" to play Saturday.

CARDINALS: Linebacker Joey Porter went on injured reserve, ending his season. The four-time Pro Bowl player has missed eight games with a knee injury.

COWBOYS: Running back Felix Jones skipped practice for a second straight day because of hamstring tightness.

JETS: Receiver Plaxico Burress was limited at practice because of a cold but expects to be fine for the first regular-season game against his former team, the Giants, on Saturday.

RAMS: Rookie receiver Austin Pettis was suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

RAVENS: Kicker Shayne Graham was signed as a possible replacement for Billy Cundiff, who has a sore left calf and is 2-of-5 on field goals this month.

Extra eyes to look for concussions 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 9:14pm]
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