Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy said Thursday afternoon that he has no complaints with how the team’s medical staff responded to his concussion.
McCoy, who spoke to reporters for the first time since December 8th, declined to get into specifics about the hit he received from Steelers linebacker James Harrison or what happened after it – including the one-game suspension the NFL handed down.
“I really have no opinion on that,” McCoy said. “That’s a league matter. That’s completely out of my control.”
McCoy hasn’t been medically cleared to practice or play but he has resumed exercising and is holding out hope that he could return in time for Sunday’s season finale – a rematch with Harrison and the Steelers.
“I know I’m making progress each and every day,” McCoy said. “I’d do anything to be out there and play with them this weekend.
“I’d love to. We’ll see.”
Three weeks later Harrison’s hit lingers as McCoy continues to deal with the effects of it. Again the specifics of which McCoy did not want to talk about.
“I just don’t want to go there guys,” McCoy said. “I really don’t want to recreate anything. I don’t even want to think about it. I can tell you that I’m feeling a lot better – especially of late. I really feel like I’m coming out of this and I hope to at least be able to be out there this weekend and help my team.”
The controversy began late in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 14-3 loss at Pittsburgh when McCoy was crushed – helmet to facemask by Harrison. Two plays later he was sent back in the game.
During his post game press conference it was clear McCoy was not alright – in fact he sustained a concussion. McCoy also suffered an injury to his left hand which was also looked at by trainers.
It appeared to be a cheap shot by Harrison, who has a lengthy history of illegal helmet-to-helmet hits, but McCoy refused to go there with reporters Thursday afternoon.
“I really have no opinion,” McCoy said. “I think the league has handled that and I’m doing the best that I can to move forward and do the best I can to get healthy and get back and help our team.”
After he was walked to the sideline by trainers, they did not administer the SCAT2 test which prompted an investigation by the NFL and NFL Players Association about how the Browns’ medical staff handled the situation.
“I’m not going to recreate what happened,” McCoy said. “I’m not going to get into specifics. It’s in the hands of the league and I think that their first priority is the safety of the players. I think if you ask anybody in this locker room, they’re pro health for the players. That’s completely out of my control.
“What I can tell you is our medical staff does an outstanding job and that should never be in question.”
The Browns maintained that they followed protocol, no one from the medical staff saw the Harrison hit and McCoy’s concussion-like symptoms didn’t set in until after the game.
The NFL did not punish the Browns but did change it’s policy.
A certified athletic trainer is now in the press box at every NFL game with the directive to alert the medical staff of a team if he sees a player take a hit to the head but doesn’t have authority to prevent a player from returning to the game.
Doctors are also now permitted to carry cell phones on the sideline so they can communicate with other doctors if necessary. Cell phones on the sideline were prohibited before the change.
McCoy’s father told Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer on December 9th that Colt did not remember Harrison’s hit or what happened after it and that the Browns had no business putting him back in the game.
McCoy was asked if he felt his fathers’ comments damaged his relationship with the organization.
“No, but I will say I have talked to my dad, and I have addressed some things with my dad,” McCoy said. “What we talk about, I’m going to keep private and keep that between us.”
Like the rest of the team, McCoy is aware that he will be evaluated this offseason and hopes to remain with the Browns for years to come.
“I love this place,” McCoy said. “I want to be here. I want to be part of the resurrection of the Browns. That’s what I’m here for. Aside from that I don’t know anything else.”
He might not remember it either.