BEREA, Ohio — Browns coach Pat Shurmur defended his team's handling of Colt McCoy after the quarterback suffered a concussion during Thursday's 14-3 loss to Pittsburgh.
Scrambling from pressure, McCoy took a helmet-to-helmet hit from linebacker James Harrison in the fourth. McCoy left for two plays but returned after being cleared by the team's medical staff, which Shurmur said followed the NFL's guidelines on concussions.
McCoy didn't begin showing symptoms of a concussion until after the game, Shurmur said. "If he had shown symptoms of the concussion I wouldn't have put him back in the game," Shurmur said. "That was a tough, physical game. Everybody got knocked around."
After McCoy was hit, the QB told trainers he injured his left hand. McCoy was taken to the bench, where Shurmur said medical personnel performed mandatory "return-to-play" tests. McCoy then approached his coach. "He said, 'Hey, I'm ready to go,' " Shurmur said.
On his third play back, he threw an interception in the end zone.
League spokesman Greg Aiello was asked in an email if the Browns followed proper protocol. "We will review it with the team," he responded.
According to the league's "sideline assessment concussion tool," players are supposed to be asked five questions — What month is it? What is the date today? What is the day of the week? What year is it? What time is it right now? — as the initial phase of the evaluation. There are other tests, including the repetition of words and and balance, that need to be performed.
Shurmur said McCoy passed all the mandatory tests without complaints.
McCoy's father, Brad, criticized the Browns: "He never should've gone back in the game," he told Cleveland's Plain Dealer. "He was basically out (cold) after the hit. You could tell by the rigidity of his body as he was laying there. There were a lot of easy symptoms that should've told them he had a concussion."
Hobbled Steeler: Ben Roethlisberger's left ankle is not broken, but that doesn't mean it's fine after he limped through the win against Cleveland. The Steelers quarterback wore a walking boot Friday and had an MRI exam, but results weren't immediately available. Still, he remained optimistic he will play Dec. 19 against the 49ers.
Roethlisberger was hit low by Scott Paxson midway through the second quarter. He limped to the locker room, where X-rays showed the bone was still intact. He returned to throw for 178 yards in the second half.
"I wanted to be there for the guys," Roethlisberger said. "I wanted to let them know that I'm going to be there and I'm going to fight no matter what."
Raider Fined $30K: Defensive lineman Richard Seymour was fined $30,000 for punching Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito on Sunday. Last season, Seymour was fined $25,000 for punching Roethlisberger.
Fines for Lions: Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was fined $25,000 by the NFL for abusive conduct toward an official against the Saints. Receiver Nate Burleson was fined $7,500 for grabbing a Saints player by the face mask, and returner Stefan Logan was fined $7,500 for flipping the ball to an opponent. The team also released defensive back Brandon McDonald and signed defensive tackle Jovan Haye.
More fines: New England's Jerod Mayo was fined $25,000 for striking Indianapolis quarterback Dan Orlovsky "in the head and neck area," though he was not penalized. … Green Bay's Charles Woodson was fined $15,000 for hitting Giants QB Eli Manning in the head with his forearm.
Bears: Safety Major Wright (shoulder) will join quarterback Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and running back Matt Forte (sprained knee) on the sideline this week, leaving the team without three starters against Denver.
Packers: Running back James Starks (ankle), the team's leading rusher, and linebacker Desmond Bishop (calf), the team's leading tackler, will not play against the Raiders.
Texans: Receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring) will sit against Cincinnati.
Vikings: Running back Adrian Peterson (ankle) and quarterback Christian Ponder (hip) are questionable for the Lions game.