- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2002

NFL players have endured countless concussions over the years, but the one Dallas safety Darren Woodson dished out to Seattle receiver Darrell Jackson last Sunday was serious enough to draw a $75,000 fine from the league yesterday. And Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren wasn't taken aback by Woodson losing what amounts to two of his 17 paydays.

"It's a tough game and the defensive guys, their job is to hit the other team, [but] how you hit becomes a real issue," Holmgren said yesterday on a conference call with the Washington media. "It's something I talk to my team about all the time.

"Not only are you putting the player getting hit at risk, but the person doing the hitting is certainly at risk if he has his head in an improper position. It's an educational process that must be continued. It seems like kind of a tough sell. But it was touch and go in the locker room on Sunday. It was a very serious situation.

"The simple thing of the matter is Darrell almost died," Holmgren said. "That's the deal. Is anything worth that? Let's look at the potential consequences of this thing."

People such as the Denver defensive backs who wore the suspended Kenoy Kennedy's No.28 on their wristbands two weeks ago in the words of fellow safety Izell Reese, "to represent our fallen soldier,'' when it was Kennedy who had knocked Miami receiver Chris Chambers cold with a brutal, helmet-to-helmet hit.

After being knocked unconscious by Woodson's vicious blow to his jaw and helmet with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter Sunday, Jackson woke up and told his teammates he was all right, said tailback Shaun Alexander. But Jackson had a seizure in the locker room, prompting the trainers to call paramedics.

Jackson, who was combative on his way to a Dallas area hospital, was kept overnight but only had a concussion. He was back at the Seahawks' practice facility yesterday, although he won't face the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

"I was very happy to see Darrell today," Holmgren said. "He was wide-eyed and alert. He's going through a series of tests which started [Tuesday]. We're following our normal concussion protocol. He doesn't have any headaches, which is a far cry from the situation on Sunday. It was one of the scarier things I've ever seen. Our medical staff and the Cowboys' medical staff reacted very quickly and did a remarkable job."

Said Woodson, who wasn't suspended yesterday despite having been fined $7,500 earlier this year for hits on Houston tight end Billy Miller and Arizona quarterback Jake Plummer: "I can't change the way I was taught how to play."

Jackson said he has no memory loss.

"I can still remember the play that was called," he said. "I can remember everything, the hit and I can remember everything after."

Asked if had reconsidered the potential danger to his health and his career, Jackson said it just comes with the territory.

"I haven't even second-guessed it," Jackson said. "This is the game of football and things like this happen. I put myself in a place out there for things like this to happen. You take it all in stride."

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