By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Given the complex nature of neuroscience, the mess of litigation between the NFL and former players, and the avalanche of information that often falls upon the general public, news stories about concussions can generally become white noise to football fans. But Thursday’s news ought to turn some heads.
When the Texans take on the Bengals on Thursday Night Football, they will be without starting tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. They’ll also be without second-string tight end Ryan Griffin. And they’ll be without third-string tight end Stephen Anderson.
All three tight ends are out, due to concussions they suffered in Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.
Fiedorowicz’s concussion was severe enough for the Texans to place him on injured reserve, meaning he’ll be out for at least eight weeks, but possibly longer.
The three tight ends were not the only Texans to suffer concussions in Week 1, as receiver Bruce Ellington and linebacker Brian Cushing also sustained concussions during the game.
Ellington will also miss Thursday’s game, and Cushing was in line to miss the game as well before the NFL announced that he was suspended.
Of course, with the nature of football, a cluster of officially recorded concussions taking place in the same game at the same position is a unique coincidence more than anything else. But the reporting of their concussions and the protocol that’s keeping them out of Thursday night’s game does represent progress in a league where such injuries weren’t always considered to be injuries.
And when rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has to throw to practice squad tight end Evan Baylis on the NFL Network on Thursday night, the broadcast crew will be forced to talk about the absences of the Texans’ top three tight ends.
Though the executives who run the league might prefer a halt on all progress in the areas of research and information to protect players’ brains, the Texans’ situation shines a light on the protocols properly working in one instance on a team level.