On the day that Rams offensive lineman David Edwards cleared concussion protocol and said he would play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL players’ union Friday released a press release urging the NFL to implement changes to the protocols immediately.
Friday’s union motion was spurred after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left after which was allowed to return to a Sept. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills after a suffering a head injury. Tagovailoa then suffered head and neck injuries during a Sept. 29 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Our union has agreed to alter the concussion protocols to guard players from returning to play within the case of any similar incident to what we saw on Sept. 25,” the NFLPA statement said. “We would love these changes to enter effect before this weekend’s games to instantly protect the players and hope the NFL accepts the change before then as well.”
The NFL responded with a press release.
“As now we have discussed with the NFLPA, we agree that changes to the joint NFL-NFLPA protocols are obligatory to further enhance player safety,” the statement said. “We have now already spoken to member of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the leadership of the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Independent Certified Athletic Trainers who function spotters to debate these likely changes.”
Edwards, the starting left guard, sat out last Monday’s 24-9 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers after self-reporting symptoms the Friday before.
The Rams’ injury-plagued line gave up seven sacks against the 49ers and now faces a Cowboys defense that ranks tied for second within the league with 15 sacks.
Coach Sean McVay is comfortable to have Edwards back.
“It’s big-time stability,” McVay said.
Edwards, 25, said he had absorbed a “shot” during practice “that was normal and consistent with all the pieces we’ve done up thus far.”
While fiddling with his children that night, nonetheless, he said he “just didn’t feel right.”
Edwards attended team meetings the following day.
“Just told myself if I still don’t feel right, I’ve got to say something,” he said.
Edwards reported his symptoms to Reggie Scott, the Rams vice chairman of sports medicine and performance, and said he also spoke with McVay and team medical personnel before entering concussion protocol.
McVay said last week that “You’ll be able to’t be too careful with a few of this stuff” and lauded Edwards for “taking the best steps, especially with the [Tagovailoa] situation that occurred.”
Asked Friday if he was influenced by Tagovailoa’s situation, Edwards said that he was not.
“It was just the primary time in my life where I just didn’t feel right,” he said. “I felt like I owed it to my family and myself to talk up and say something.”
Edwards said he still felt “terrible I couldn’t be on the market with the fellows, like I used to be letting guys down.”
But he said he learned from his experience playing through a shoulder injury during his final college season at Wisconsin in 2018.
“I just owed it to myself and my family simply to say something,” he said. “It’s considered one of those things — you may scan a shoulder and say you’re out for 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll be able to’t scan you’re brain and say you’re out for 4 to 6 weeks.
“It’s type of the way you’re feeling.”
Offensive tackle Rob Havenstein and injured center Brian Allen were amongst teammates who offered support, Edwards said. But he said he felt “almost like hopeless” watching his teammates struggle without him against the 49ers.
“You’re seeing guys on the market battling and you only need to be on the market, but you’re sitting in your couch doing nothing,” he said, adding “I’m sitting there being, ‘Oh my gosh. I’m sitting at home watching a football game once I ought to be on the market, type of thing,’ you realize what I mean?
“That was the hard part.”