BOSTON (CBS) — Despite the NFL’s public efforts to protect its players from the dangers of concussions and raise awareness about traumatic head injuries, the harsh reality is that players often stay on the field and play through them. It’s more common than you may think.

Former Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather is one of those guys who has played with concussion symptoms, which he described to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday. His description of playing with a head injury, which is something that many NFL players likely experience on a weekly basis, would make the NFL’s league offices and medical professionals cringe.

“You just have to remind yourself of things that you knew. Like, if we call a play you have to remind yourself of the play over and over again,” said Meriweather. “Then after that play you might forget what you did the last play or two plays ago. But it eventually goes away.”

He admitted that, in light of the Martellus Bennett controversy from the past week, players are often pushed to play by team-employed medical personnel.

“Absolutely, that happens with everybody,” Meriweather said. “It’s not many teams that pay you that don’t want you to play. Think about it that way. If I’m paying you a million-plus a year to play a sport, shouldn’t you want them to play if that was your team? That’s common sense.”

Brandon Meriweather warms up against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Oct. 24, 2010. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Meriweather added that he was never pressured to play during his time with the Redskins.

Bennett, meanwhile, publicly criticized the Packers for their handling of his shoulder injury before returning to the Patriots and quickly getting on the field for them. The tight end has drawn some criticism for supposedly pushing his way out of Green Bay or lying about needing shoulder surgery. Meriweather believes that Bennett is actually hurt, but his reason for why he wanted to get away from the Packers may surprise you. It’s not that he wanted to win with the Patriots, it’s that he knows Tom Brady will do a better job than Packers backup Brett Hundley of protecting him from dangerous hits.

“I think the reason in Green Bay [is] if he had Aaron Rodgers … I don’t think he would have tried to get surgery,” Meriweather said. “Because certain quarterbacks, you know they’re not gonna put you in position to get hit, and certain quarterbacks you’ve got a chance every time touching the ball that they’re putting you in a position to get killed. So I think he was making a business decision.”

Listen to the full interview above!