Holmgren Clarifies McCoy Incident

What did the Browns know? Wnat did the Browns do and not do regarding QB Colt McCoy's concussion? Team president Mike Holmgren addressed the situation.

BEREA, Ohio—Browns president Mike Holmgren spoke for close to an hour in place of Pat Shurmur's normal meeting with the media to talk about the Colt McCoy concussion situation and how it was handled.

"I thought it was necessary to set the record straight on some of the things that have happened the last few days," Holmgren said. "The last couple of days we met with the NFL, as well as the union doctors to get some form of closure on the incident that took place with Colt.

"There is a lot of speculation that has been written and said and the reason we have waited as an organization for those meetings."

Holmgren affirmed that McCoy wasn't given the standard concussion test on the sideline before he was sent back in on the first question asked.

"No, he was not," Holmgren said when asked if the test was given to McCoy. "To add reasonableness to that I will walk you through the steps. Everyone was very forthright and honest and clear about what happened."

Holmgren said the reason he hasn't talked earlier was because he needed to wait to gather all the information.

"It would've been premature for me to come to you today before I had all of the (info)," Holmgren said. "I would ask that you trust me a little."

Holmgren explained the timeline as to what transpired after McCoy was injured.

"When the injury took place on the field, the question came up did the doctors see the impact on the play?" he said. "They did not, nor did the training staff. They did not see the play and they were working with other players. That is typical. Colt was down and Alex Smith was also down on the same play.

"The trainers and doctors were working with Colt and when our doctors and trainers go out and follow the procedures—and let me say this--our training staff is the best in football," he said. "One of the things troubling to me is they're getting slammed, as is the head coach.

"(McCoy) was talking and lucid and he was complaining about his hand," Holmgren said. "He said his hand really hurt. He was not unconscious when they got out there. They looked at his hand and walked him to the sideline. The doctor came over they looked at his hand and walked him to the sideline."

Holmgren said normally the doctors do the SCAT 2 test in the locker room and Ben Watson and Owen Marecic were taken there for those tests earlier.

"Why wasn't a SCAT 2 test administered then?" he said. "In following normal protocols like with Watson and Owen where we took them in. Due to the way Colt was acting didn't dictate that and so his responses following our normal protocols didn't dictate they administer the normal test."

Holmgren said head trainer Joe Sheehan told Shurmur McCoy was good to go back into the game.

"The trainer goes to the head coach and says one of three things: He's out; give me some more time or he's good to go. Based on what they did on the sideline, Joe said Colt was good to go," he said. "I want to make something very clear. Certainly, our coach wouldn't over rule a doctor and that will never happen. That's the information he got form the trainer and that's why (Colt) went back into the game."

Holmgren confirmed what Shurmur said earlier in the week that McCoy didn't show concussion symptoms until after the game.

"After the game, Colt was in the training room and still not displaying any concussion symptoms," he said. "They were looking at his hand and after showering he said he felt a little funky to the trainer and Joe said as he should, go in and see the doctor. He went back into the training room and that's when he was put through the concussion tests. There are things you are asked and (Colt) passed all of them except he made the comment that one of the toilet seats banged down and it startled him. There wasn't anything in his answers but that statement caused (the doctor) to go into the (concussion) protocol."

Holmgren said that's why the public relations staff asked the television cameras to dim their lights.

"(McCoy) asked the public relations department to turn down the lights and went into the press conference," he said. "We were in a cautious possible concussion mode with him at that point. He walked on to the airplane and drives home and was going to come in the next morning for treatment and he still had a headache and we proceeded to do what we do. That's the timeline."

Holmgren seemed upset that the media has criticized the Browns for not only the concussion situation but other off-the field issues, as well. Holmgren emphasized that it's unfair to say it is just the same old Browns.

"The off the field things that have happened in the past are quite different than the concussion," he said. "Just by the nature of the question you're implying something. Don't do that. There will be concussions this year and the next five years. Is it the same old Browns because we had a concussion? No, for the reasons I just gave."

Holmgren was asked if he still feels the Browns are on the right track.

"I don't have any regrets as to the decision I made (in keeping Eric Mangini)," Holmgren said. "This is like the second first year. I suppose you could say we wasted a year. I'm not looking back.

"The tough thing is for you guys and the fans is because it's easy to write-- that it looks like business as usual, but it's not. But when it does happen, don't come to me for playoff tickets. You're either with us or you're not. I'm telling you it is different now."

Holmgren was asked if he understands why fans are skeptical.

"There is a reason for that," he said. "If you just look at our games this season, if we do two things better, we have a chance to be 7-6 and people would be feeling a little better about ourselves.

"If we could just snap the ball and not drop some passes," he said. "If we just did a couple of things better, people could get off that same old, same old thing. We could've won a few more games. It's frustrating to have to win a game 14-13, but that's what we have to do right now, but it's not always going to be (that way)."

Other topics that Holmgren addressed:

Q: Could you assess McCoy's play and the status of the team?

Holmgren: "We'll do that at the end of the season. Tom (Heckert) and I will talk about everything after the season. The detail on how we feel will be at the end of the season. (Today) was to try and tell you what happened the other night."

Q: Why didn't you address the situation earlier?

Holmgren: "I do a fair amount behind the scenes, but in defining what my role is here," he said. "My defining of my role is to hire good people and let them work and support them the way I can. That's why I don't have a press conference or a radio show. I've done that for 25 years. I don't want to do that anymore. If something requires me to be here like today, I will be. We have a young coach who will be here. Tom Heckert will continue do a great job at drafting."

Q: Will the Browns change any procedures on possible hits to the head?

Holmgren: "We want to be and will continue to be at the forefront to protect our players. We want to and have established that. It's not business as usual for the Cleveland Browns. It's not. You talk to any of our players who have went through the process and you will realize it's not business as usual for the Cleveland Browns.

"One of the things we talked with the league and the union is we want to be at the forefront of the situation with the league in terms of injuries."

Q: Do you expect any action against the Browns by the NFL?

Holmgren: "We talked to the league about this. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't expect anything to happen from a punitive action, but what could we do better. They followed all the protocols. Our doctors did a good job.

"It was a very healthy meeting. From the league, union, and the Browns, this happened and how can we make this a little better if we can with an observer. Would it have helped to get a little more information? Probably."

Q: What's Colt's status?

Holmgren: "We sent Colt home and are following the league's protocol. He has a headache but other than that he's good. We are following protocols, but on the sideline there wasn't a lot to examine."

Q: Should McCoy been sent back into the game with a capable backup like Seneca Wallace on the field?

Holmgren: "I'm not going to second-guess Pat on that. I've been there before and quarterback's get dinged and I'll have that conversation and if I feel they're good to go, I'll send them back in. He's in the front line and the coach has to make that call."

Q: How could it be that the doctor's and other medical personnel didn't see the hit on McCoy?

Holmgren: "If you're on the sideline, sometimes you don't see what happened. Sometimes, you follow the ball. We've had guys come over and say take a look at him. None of that happened. That was really the crux of the meeting. No one alerted anybody and how do we do this so the (doctors) get the information that they need."

Q: Wouldn't the helmet-to-helmet hit penalty cause precautionary measures?

Holmgren: "The roughing the passer wouldn't alert anybody of itself. There are penalties for guys hitting the quarterback in the helmet. I've seen hits that look bad and then off you go. You have to let the medical people know. There was a lot of time that went by until he started showing effects."

Q: Your thoughts on the James Harrison hit and punishment?

Holmgren: "Those things I have to leave up to the league. They're trying very, very hard to make the game a little safer if they can for everybody. The play took place. It was dealt with."

Q: Will Pat Shurmur be the head coach of the Browns next season?

Holmgren:"Yes. He will be the head coach. He's a good man and he's going to be around here for a long time."

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