“QBs-Always on the Clock”
The memory is so vivid.
Every time I see a big hit on an NFL quarterback, I wonder how they ever get up. Wonder how they feel the next day. Wonder about the cumulative effect.
Philip Rivers, the tower of strength at quarterback for the Chargers, is day-to-day, trying to recover from 3-wicked hits in the Sunday loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Built as big as an Oak Tree, Rivers has had just 2-major injuries in his career.
A torn knee ligament, repaired by surgery, just prior to the Patriots playoff game years back. And a chest-back injury two years ago that plagued him at the end of the season into the off season.
it has been remarkable considering how many 40-sack seasons he has had…and how many 80-plus additional hit campaigns he has had.
He will remain in concussion protocol till probably the end of the week.
He was victimized by a fluke high-low hit at the end of the first quarter against the Jags. He was hit high, almost bumped, in the front chest area. As he was falling backward, he was wiped out by a low, back to the legs hit, when a Jaguars pass rusher coming from behind, was blocked into the quarterback by Russell Okung.
No flag, because that was incidental, but violent contact. Rivers was flipped over backwards, and all 6-6 of him landed on his back and on the back of his head. He was jolted. Rolled over. Took his helmet off, and you could tell he was badly shaken.
He came right back out the next series, and showed no effects.
In the 2nd half, he took a head on chest hit on a blitz. He stayed in there, made the pass, took the blow.
Then in overtime, on an interception return, he became the tackler, lowering his head to stop a Jaguars TD return at his own 2-yard line. Rivers put his helmet down, and so did the return man.
Helmet to helmet, it was violent.
It was not till overnight, the next morning, Rivers complications arose. He has not publicly discussed them yet, but you can imagine, headaches, nausea, light headedness. Hopefully it has not lingered.
But when I see that happening to a Bolts quarterback, I have flashbacks, to the one big hit that Chargers QB-Stan Humphries took.
The courageous stay in the pocket, mad bomber of a QB, the guy who had driven the Bolts to the Super Bowl, always traded the big shot to make the big play.
In one snap it was all over. In a game against a bad Bengals team, Cincinnati linebacker Reinard Wilson ran full bore, unblocked, stampeded right over Humphries.
The quarterbacks back of the head, hit the cold turf in Cincinnati. Concussion. Bad concussion. Never to play the rest of the season concussion. Never to play again, career ending concussion.
I’ll never forget the glazed look on his eyes on the plane flight home. The black eyes that developed. And the sadness we all felt when the complications just would not go away.
Rivers, like Humphries, like every other QB on a Sunday in the pocket, is always on the clock.
It’s part of the big-bad NFL. You wish you could make the game safer for those guys, but you cannot.
You hope the outcome for #17 is better than the outcome for #12.