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NFL, NFLPA investigating Tom Savage concussion

Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien believes his team did right by quarterback Tom Savage.

One day after the starting passer was lost to a scary concussion in a loss to the 49ers, O'Brien told reporters that Houston's medical staff initially cleared Savage to return before the coach asked them to examine him a second time.

Savage left Sunday's 26-16 loss to San Francisco in the second quarter following a crushing blow by 49ers edge rusher Elvis Dumervil. The hit left Savage shaking on the ground -- a disturbing sight caught on video -- but the quarterback briefly returned to the field before leaving for good.

"I figured he got hit, didn't know he got hit, very difficult from where I'm standing to even see he got it. There's no video on the sideline," O'Brien said Monday, per the Houston Chronicle. "With benefit of the video, I never would have allowed the player back in the game and I don't think [trainer] Geoff Kaplan would have let Tom back in the game."

NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart told reporters during a Monday conference call that the league has initiated a joint investigation with the NFL Players Association into the handling of Savage's concussion.

"That work started yesterday afternoon and continued into this morning but I think we'll withhold further comments until we've had a chance to conduct the review and again expediential with the NFL," said Lockhart. "I say that we believe very strongly that the protocol is an important part of our overall effort on protecting our players health and safety. But we do understand that it is our obligation to look at where the protocol may not have been followed, and just as importantly to see where the protocol can be improved. That's an ongoing effort."

O'Brien went out his way to defend his handling of the injury, along with the team's, saying: "At no point in my coaching career, have I ever passed the buck. In this case, I'm not passing the buck."

Said O'Brien: "At no point in time in my coaching career, in my 25 years of coaching, I've been at Brown University, I've been at Georgia Tech, I've been at Duke, I've been at the University of Maryland, I've been the head coach at Penn State and I've been the head coach here, at no point in time is there anything more important to me than the safety of our players. I love our players and I care about them and I cannot stand when players get injured. Again with benefit of seeing the video that people are seeing, I would have never put him back in the game."

Savage took to Twitter Monday to defend his coach:

"I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers, I'm doing fine. Even though I cannot speak to media due to the protocol I will say this, nobody cares more about his players than OB."

O'Brien said that he expects backup T.J. Yates to start Sunday against the Jaguars in place of Savage, which comes as no surprise after the punishment Houston's starter took Sunday.

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