The Seattle Seahawks violated the NFL’s concussion protocol Thursday night when they allowed Russell Wilson to re-enter the game without going to the locker room and being cleared by a team doctor and an independent physician, a source close to the situation told ESPN.
The Seahawks are expected to face consequences because once the official removed Wilson for the game to be examined, the star quarterback was required to go through protocol, and he did not.
The NFL and NFL Players Association will jointly review the situation, interview members of the Seahawks organization early this week and come to a decision within the next couple of weeks, according to a source.
The Seahawks can be fined up to $150,000, although it’s unclear what their penalty will be. The NFL announced Friday that it was conducting a “thorough review” of the situation.
The play in question occurred midway through the third quarter of the Seahawks’ 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals, when Wilson absorbed a hit to the chin from linebacker Karlos Dansby. Wilson did not show any obvious signs of a concussion, but referee Walt Anderson invoked his right to send Wilson off the field for a test.
The NFL concussion policy states that a player believed to have concussion symptoms cannot return to “practice or play” unless a team physician and an independent neurological consultant clear him. This season, the league added a blue sideline tent to allow the initial test to be administered in private.
With backup Austin Davis in the game, NBC’s broadcast showed Wilson running to the sideline and then sitting down in the area where the tent would be pulled over him. But Wilson got back up before medical officials had a chance to join him and then replaced Davis after one play.
Wilson was on the field for two more plays before the Seahawks punted. During the change of possession, Wilson again entered the tent and remained there for a longer period of time. He was on the field when the Seahawks regained possession.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert contributed to this report.