FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung left Sunday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at halftime with a concussion, and a league spokesman said a joint review by the NFL and NFL Players Association is underway to ensure the proper protocol was followed.
Chung initially left the game after defending a running play with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter, as he had charged toward ball-carrier Corey Grant on a 1-yard run. Chung was met in the hole by tight end Niles Paul, and after Paul landed on top of him, Chung briefly lay prone on the ground with his hands near the opening of his helmet as umpire Barry Anderson waved his arms to signal a stoppage in play.
Chung quickly got up to his feet under his own power and headed to the Patriots sideline, seemingly at the urging of Anderson.
Chung returned to action on the next play, and played the rest of the quarter. At halftime, he was then ruled out of the game by the team with a concussion.
The NFL has independent spotters at games that have the authority to pull players for evaluation.
On his Tuesday morning conference call, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if he knew why Chung wasn’t checked for a concussion during the second quarter.
“That’s really a medical question that I can’t answer,” he said. “If a player is medically cleared to play, then it’s a coaching decision. If he’s not medically cleared, then it’s not a coaching decision. We’re out of it. It’s a medical decision. It really falls into one of those two categories.”
Asked if he received any explanation about why team doctors didn’t check Chung for a concussion, Belichick said, “Look, I don’t know whether they did or didn’t. Those are medical procedures, and some of that is dictated by things from upstairs from the neutral physician, and then that goes to our medical department. I’m trying to coach the game. I don’t have time for a conversation with those guys. If the player is cleared, he’s cleared. If he’s not cleared, then he’s not cleared.”