Colts WR Collie has concussion after hit to head

As Austin Collie lay motionless on the field, the NFL’s

crackdown on violent hits to defenseless players came into full

focus.

The Indianapolis Colts wide receiver suffered a concussion on a

second-quarter hit to his head Sunday by Philadelphia Eagles safety

Kurt Coleman. Collie was ”awake and alert in the (locker) room,”

coach Jim Caldwell said after the Eagles’ 26-24 victory. ”I think

he’ll recover quickly. He’ll do OK.”

”I won’t go into all the details about it, but he took a pretty

good hit,” Caldwell said. ”He was out, unconscious for a period

of time.”

In a scary scene that had the Linc silent while Collie was on

the ground for several minutes, trainers worked on him, then he was

placed on a stretcher as players from both sidelines stood and

watched.

”Coach Caldwell told us early it was a concussion and you don’t

like to hear that,” Peyton Manning said. ”It’s better than what

everybody fears at that point.”

The second-year receiver dropped a pass over the middle after he

was hit by safeties Quintin Mikell and Coleman. Although Mikell was

penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver, replays showed

Coleman made contact with Collie’s helmet.

Since the NFL cracked down on hits to the head and neck area on

Oct. 19 after a spate of them the previous weekend, there were few

such fouls. The league has threatened suspensions for illegal hits

to defenseless players, saying they have no place in the game.

Collie was turning with the ball when he was hit and dropped it,

making him a defenseless player. He fell to the ground and never

appeared to move as he was worked on as Colts and Eagles players

took of their helmets and looked on, several appearing to pray.

”I think the official made the proper call,” Caldwell

said.

The Eagles, particularly Coleman and Mikell, disagreed.

”Well, it’s unfortunate because to me it was a football play,”

Mikell said. ”It wasn’t malicious. Neither one of us were leading

with our head. But the ref made the call and we had to go with

it.”

Actually, replays showed Coleman coming from Collie’s left side

and hitting him helmet to helmet.

”What do you do? It’s football,” Coleman said. ”That’s what

they pay us to do, make plays, especially on deep plays like that.

He’s protecting himself, we’re trying to get him down and it’s just

a bang-bang play.”

But, according to referee Carl Cheffers and back judge Todd

Prokup, an illegal one – one Coleman, even though Mikell was

announced as drawing the penalty.

”The fact of the matter is that the ball was incomplete,”

Cheffers said. ”So he has protection throughout that entire

process on that play because we don’t have a completion. At no time

did he have possession and become a runner to where he would have

transitioned out of being a defenseless receiver.”

The Colts have been plagued by injuries to their offense and

already were without tight end Dallas Clark and his backup, Brody

Eldridge, and second-string wideout Anthony Gonzalez. Early in the

third period, rookie Blair White was shaken up, too, but

returned.

Collie had one catch for minus-1 yard Sunday. He entered the

game with 44 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns.

In their last home game, Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson

sustained a concussion on Oct. 17 on an illegal hit by Falcons

cornerback Dunta Robinson, who also was concussed. Jackson returned

to the lineup Sunday.

He was concerned about Collie, and at the same time wondered

about the penalty – Jackson thought the hits on Collie were

clean.

”I just hope they don’t take this ruling and try to change

football,” he said.

Robinson was fined $50,000 for the hit. For flagrant fouls that

same day, Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison ($75,000) and New

England safety Brandon Meriweather ($50,000) also drew hefty fines.

The league announced it would then dole out suspensions along with

fines for illegal hits.