Frank Reich Sends Strong Message After Colts’ Concussion Scare

Frank Reich

Getty Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich delivered a strong message after another Thursday Night concussion scare.

The NFL had another player wobbling on the field after suffering significant contact to the head to begin Week 5 on Thursday Night Football. This time, that was Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines.

But the way in which the Colts handled the apparently concussed player was very different than what another team did this season.

Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich told the media on October 7 that Hines told him he was fine after his head injury and that he wanted to go back into the game. But Reich made it clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

“That’s why there’s been a lot of talk about as coaches, we’ve got to do the right thing,” Reich said. “Because you have to protect players from themselves at times.”

Hines Apologized to Reich for Getting Injury

NFL has been around for more than 100 years. When an injury occurs in the league, players have been taught to suck it up and go back in the game.

That’s the mindset Hines had after he suffered his head injury on the first series. In fact, Reich told the media that at halftime, Hines apologized for not being available to his team and urged his coach to let him return in the third quarter.

But Reich declined Hines’ request.

“That’s a perfect example of an instance where you see him take a hit like he does,” Reich said. “You know what kind of competitor he is, and he wants to get back in the game, and he certainly seemed fine talking to him. He seemed totally normal. But you gotta do the right thing.”

The Colts head coach also said that the entire Indianapolis coaching staff knew right when they saw Hines unable to stand straight after taking a hit that he wasn’t going to be able to finish the game.

“We saw him wobble right away,” Reich said. “All the coaches were simultaneously on the sideline [saying], ‘He’s out. He’s out.’

That’s far from what apparently happened with the Miami Dolphins during Week 3. On September 25, quarterback Tua Tagovalioa staggered while trying to stand similar to the way Hines did on October 6.

But Tagovailoa reportedly cleared concussion protocol, and the Dolphins allowed him back in the game. The third-year quarterback led Miami to a 20-17 victory against the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa suffered another hit to the head, though, 4 days later on Thursday Night Football versus the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa banged his head on the turf, and then his arms went into the fencing response, which is an unnatural position the arms often go into when a person sustains a traumatic brain injury.

Two head injuries in the span of 5 days could cause the Dolphins quarterback to suffer permanent brain damage. Reich and the Colts wisely avoided that kind of situation by forcing Hines to sit out the rest of Week 5.

Colts Run for 100 Yard Without Hines, Jonathan Taylor

It would have been easy for Reich to let Hines back in the game since the Colts were already missing star running back Jonathan Taylor because of an ankle injury. But Indianapolis’ No. 3 and 4 running backs did just enough to lead the Colts to a 12-9 overtime victory.

23-year-old running back Deon Jackson rushed for a career-high 62 yards on 13 carries. Just promoted from the practice squad, Phillip Lindsay gained 40 yards on 11 rushing attempts.

Together, Jackson and Lindsay led the Colts to their highest rushing total since Week 1.

The Athletic’s Zak Keefer reported that Indianapolis “is optimistic” Taylor will return in Week 6. The Colts would obviously love to get back arguably their best player, but the way Jackson and Lindsay played, Indianapolis might not have to rush back either of their running backs.

Based on how Reich responded to Hines’ concussion situation, regardless of who is running the ball for Indianapolis, the Colts aren’t going to allow Hines, or any concussed player, to return until it’s certain he’s alright.

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