Niles Paul said Tuesday he has passed every stage of the league’s concussion protocol and expects to be able to play for the Washington Redskins when they face Seattle on Monday.
Paul, a tight end, left the Redskins’ game against the New York Giants on Thursday in the second quarter following near-simultaneous hits to his helmet from two Giants defensive backs. After catching a pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins over the middle of the field, Paul was hit in the right side of his helmet by free safety Quintin Demps, then was hit on the left side of his helmet by strong safety Antrel Rolle.
He immediately fell to the grass, with his arms splayed out in an awkward position. Paul said Tuesday that he was knocked out by the hit and did not know where he was when he woke up; Demps was flagged by officials for an illegal hit and is likely to be fined by the league this week.
“It was weird,” Paul said. “I had no idea [where I was]. I was lost.”
Diagnosed with a concussion, Paul did not return to the game and, in subsequent days, was put through the league’s concussion protocol. Such procedures dictate a player undergo cognitive testing the day after the game, participate in a light cardiovascular workout a day later and then be allowed to return to practice, albeit in a limited, non-contact fashion, on the third day.
Each step assumes the player has not experienced any additional symptoms connected to a concussion, and before a player can be cleared for contact, he must be evaluated by an independent neurologist.
That typically means players are allowed to return to a full-contact practice the Friday following a game. For Paul, that would have been Tuesday, yet he watched the Redskins’ nearly 90-minute practice from the sidelines.
Paul said it was the first time he has been diagnosed with a concussion. It is also the first time this season a Redskins player has been diagnosed with a concussion after five were last season.
“I feel good,” he said. “Obviously, it was a process. I had a concussion. I was out. But it’s a process that you’ve got to go through.”