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Patriots' Patrick Chung cleared in concussion protocol probe

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-09-28 07:00:19

The NFL's concussion protocol was not violated when New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung returned to a Week 2 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the league and its players association said Thursday.

Chung initially left the game after defending a running play with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter after charging toward the line of scrimmage during ball-carrier Corey Grant's 1-yard run. Chung was met in the hole by tight end Niles Paul, and after Paul landed on top of him, Chung briefly lay prone on the ground with his hands near the opening of his helmet as umpire Barry Anderson waved his arms to signal a stoppage in play.

Chung quickly got up to his feet under his own power and headed to the Patriots sideline, seemingly at the urging of Anderson.

But Chung returned to action on the next play and played the rest of the quarter. At halftime, he was then ruled out of the game by the team with a concussion.

In a joint statement Thursday, the NFL and NFLPA said the relevant parties involved in what happened and interviewed as part of the review felt that Chung did not need to enter the protocol when initially hit in the second quarter.

"The game official observed that Mr. Chung was slow to get up and therefore removed him from play, but he did not identify a need to trigger the Protocol," the joint statement read. "Additionally, the unaffiliated medical personnel (booth UNC and booth ATC spotter) reviewed the play, did not identify a mechanism of injury and concluded the player was not exhibiting signs or symptoms suggestive of a concussion and therefore did not initiate the Protocol."

The NFL and NFLPA said the Patriots coaching staff then "observed behavior that warranted a sideline review" when Chung returned to the game, triggering the protocol to begin and leading him to be ruled out at halftime.

Chung missed last weekend's game against the Lions because of the concussion. He has been limited in practice this week.

ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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