In the aftermath of the Cleveland Browns' Thursday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, much of the postgame talk in the visiting locker room did not center on the game's outcome, but instead, the vicious fourth-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit Steelers linebacker James Harrison administered to quarterback Colt McCoy.
McCoy, who returned two plays after going down, told reporters that he did not remember the hit. According to McCoy's dad, however, the second-year quarterback's mental state was far worse than he originally let on.
"I talked to Colt this morning and he said, 'Dad, I don't know what happened, but I know I lost the game. I know I let the team down. What happened?' " Brad McCoy told The Plain Dealer on Friday.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur admitted during his Friday press conference that Colt McCoy began to exhibit concussion symptoms after the game, and he now is being treated as if he suffered a concussion. Shurmur originally said during his postgame press conference Thursday that McCoy was "fine to go back in."
That admission could be too little, too late for the NFL and Brad McCoy, who coached his son throughout junior high and high school. McCoy blasted the Browns organization for allowing McCoy to return to the game, and a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the NFL will speak to the Browns and gather information on the possibility that McCoy returned to the game with a concussion.
When asked to comment on the situation, league spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated to NFL.com the Browns' stance that McCoy did not exhibit concussion symptoms during the game.
"(The Browns) stated publicly that (McCoy) did not display concussion symptoms until after the game," Aiello wrote in an email. "Meanwhile, the Browns took out two other players (Ben Watson and Owen Marecic) last night in the first half, diagnosed them with concussions, and they did not return to the game."
And Shurmur again Friday assured reporters that the team did its due diligence in regard to McCoy.
"I feel very confident that if he wasn't able to play, we would have stopped him," Shurmur said Friday. "I can assure everyone that we followed protocol."
Shurmur told reporters Friday that as "the father of a quarterback," he understood Brad's concerns.
"If he has showed symptoms of a concussion, I wouldn't have put him back in the game," Shurmur said, via The Plain Dealer. "I definitely don't want to put a player out there that's putting himself at risk if we know it."
As far as Brad McCoy is concerned, however, McCoy's circumstance was no different than that of Watson and Marecic.
"He never should've gone back in the game," Brad told the newspaper. "He was basically out (cold) after the hit. You could tell by the rigidity of his body as he was laying there. There were a lot of easy symptoms that should've told them he had a concussion. He was nauseated and he didn't know who he was. From what I could see, they didn't test him for a concussion on the sidelines. They looked at his (left) hand."
Brad then pointed out the brief nature of Colt's postgame press conference.
"After the game, the (public relations staff) made sure Colt's interview was brief and he couldn't face the lights in his press conference,'' said Brad McCoy. "The TV lights and the stadium lights were killing him. Why would you say he was fine? That makes it even worse."
He later added: "Josh Cribbs suffered a groin injury earlier in the game and he was out for the rest of the game. ... Colt takes a severe hit like that and he's back in the game a play later? If he took another blow to the head, we could've been talking about his career here."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.