GREEN BAY - Cornerback Sam Shields has entered the NFL’s concussion protocol and won’t return to the field until team doctors and an independent neurologist clear him.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy revealed in his news conference Monday afternoon that Shields had indeed suffered a concussion after being removed from the Packers’ 27-23 victory at EverBank Field on Sunday afternoon.
Shields suffered his second concussion in nine months while making a tackle on Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon with just over 2 minutes left. The seventh-year cornerback was able to walk off the field on his own but after being evaluated on the sideline was taken to the locker room.
BOX SCORE: Packers 27, Jaguars 23
“Anytime any of our players is in the protocol and dealing with a concussion, it’s a concern,” McCarthy said. “That’s why we’ll evaluate Sam each and every day and most importantly to make sure he’s healthy and goes through the challenges of what he’s dealing with.
“It’s a protocol. I think they do a great job, particularly our doctors, of taking it one step at a time. We definitely are aware of his history and that will factor in on how we move forward.”
Under the NFL’s concussion guidelines, Shields must now pass a series of tests before being allowed to practice again, and once he makes it through a practice must receive the go-ahead from a neurologist not associated with the team in order to play in a game. The media is prohibited from speaking to Shields at the team’s facility while he is in the concussion protocol.
Shields suffered a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on Dec. 13 and missed four games, returning for the team’s divisional playoff game at Arizona on Jan. 16. He said later that he blacked out as a result of hitting his head on the turf and suffered headaches for weeks afterward.
He called it the worst injury he ever suffered.
"Concussions — one minute you feel better, the next minute you don’t,” he said in June. “You never know. I didn’t want to risk something serious happening and then my career would be over with. I don’t like them. The headaches are tough.”
Based on Shields’ recollection, this would be the fourth concussion he has suffered since college. What impact his concussion history has on when he might be able to return remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the Packers will probably stick with second-year pro Quinten Rollins as Shields’ replacement. Rollins got benched in favor of LaDarius Gunter after giving up a pair of big plays in the first half Sunday, but returned later and wound up breaking up a pass in the end zone that would have given the Jaguars the lead with under a minute left in the game.
“I expect him to take care of business like he always has,” McCarthy said. “He’s had a chance to watch the video and it’s been corrected, and he’ll be back in here roaring on Wednesday morning.”
Mea culpa: McCarthy took the blame for the fourth-quarter blunder in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to call a timeout on one play and take a delay of game on the subsequent one.
On the first play, receiver Ty Montgomery seemed confused about where he was supposed to be lined up and rather than snap the ball, Rodgers called timeout. After some discussion on the sideline, there was confusion as to which personnel was supposed to be on the field, and running back James Starks had to return to the sideline after advancing toward the huddle.
The play clock started to wind down and Rodgers tried to call timeout again. But a team can’t call timeouts on consecutive plays and the Packers were slapped with a delay of game penalty.
“The communication issue on the four-minute drive, the last drive on offense, that solely is my responsibility,” McCarthy said. “There was some communication and interaction with the officials during the timeout, and I did not get the personnel and exactly what I was trying to get done on third down communicated and it resulted in us taking a second time. It’s poor communication on my part.”
Steuck waived: Offensive lineman Kyle Steuck, the former West De Pere High School player, who joined training camp on Aug. 14, was waived with an injury settlement, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.
Steuck suffered a broken leg in the Packers’ final exhibition game against Kansas City and was put on injured reserve. He is expected to recover in about two months.
Heat takes its toll: After playing in Jacksonville where the heat index reached above the 100-degree mark, the Packers were a tired bunch.
McCarthy said that no IVs were required after the game, but that players were dragging a bit on Monday.
“I think just playing in that heat is what you expect based on the report from Mark Lovat and our strength and conditioning staff,” McCarthy said. “When we get together, we’ll go through all of our players with our training staff, but they’re pretty worn out today.”