Bears must be cautious after another Leonard Floyd concussion
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The Bears weren’t ready to say Monday if Leonard Floyd will join their previous three first-round draft picks on injured reserve before the season ends Sunday.
But regardless of whether Floyd lands alongside Kevin White, Kyle Fuller and Kyle Long, the rookie outside linebacker would be foolish to play the season finale in Minneapolis.
Saturday, he suffered his second concussion in less than five weeks. The risk of a third eight days later far outweighs the benefits of the Bears being able to evaluate him in game that’s meaningless for both teams.
Floyd attended team meetings Monday but remains in concussion protocol, John Fox said. The coach has been tight-lipped — even by his own standards — when it comes to concussion updates, and refused to answer whether it’d be wise for Floyd to face the Vikings.
“They don’t want us giving projections,” he said. “Or answering that question.”
More disturbing than the injury was the way it happened. He appeared to be shaken up on the first play of the Redskins’ second drive, after keeping his helmet down while trying to tackle Redskins running back Robert Kelley. He collided with Kelley and defensive end Akiem Hicks.
Hitting Hicks with the crown of his helmet was what gave Floyd his first concussion and forced him to be carried off the MetLife Stadium field on a backboard. His teammates teased him afterwards, telling him to “keep your head up” — a reference to his technique.
“I think he’s just a young player learning how to play,” Fox said. “And it’s something that I think the more he does it, the better he’ll understand.
“It’s hard to hit what you can’t see.”
Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman said the coaching point is simple: keep your head up when making a tackle.
“I don’t wanna see anybody get hurt like that,” he said. “He’s just being an unselfish guy, throwing his body in there. That’s just how he plays. It’s good to have a first-round pick that acts like that, but you gotta get him back on the field. He’s a talent. …
“He’s willing to do anything to get the win. Just hopefully get the guy back. Personally, I’m praying for the guy. He’s a real good dude. I just hope everything comes out for the best.”
Asked if his views on concussions have changed over the years, given the increase in research and attention, Freeman said that “you gotta adapt.”
Clearly, Floyd does too — but there should be absolutely no rush for Bears coaches to see him in a game again this season.
“You definitely have to really take your time and follow the necessary protocols and pray for him to come back as soon as possible,” cornerback Tracy Porter said after the game. “But make sure he’s 100 percent healthy.”