The NFL often pounds the "player safety" drum but also undermines it at times in various ways -- something you won't see happening in the Brandon Staley era with the Los Angeles Chargers. He made a great example out of defensive end Joey Bosa on Sunday, as they battled feverishly to put down the fiery Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13, with Bosa leaving the game early on to be evaluated for a concussion. He was cleared to return, but Staley instead decided to rule him out completely, citing Bosa's history of concussions as the reason.
Bosa suffered two concussions in 2020 and, because of that, Staley is rightfully unapologetic about the decision.
"Joey Bosa was cleared of a concussion, but it was our decision to hold him back," Staley told media after the game. "With his history, we just wanted to make sure. As long as I'm the head coach here, we're going to be making decisions like that in the best interest of our players. He was cleared of a concussion, so that's good news."
Bosa finished the day having played only nine defensive snaps.
The Chargers went on to win without him in what turned from a would-be blowout to an all-out bar brawl in Cincinnati, before LA ultimately regained form and walked away with a convincing 41-22 victory. And the better news is Bosa will return in Week 14 against the New York Giants, having both been cleared and with Staley having taken the extra step to make sure there are no residual issues going forward.
It's a similar decision to the one made by the Dallas Cowboys just two weeks ago, when wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was cleared from concussion protocol but still not allowed to take the field in Week 12 against the Las Vegas Raiders. It appears, more and more, coaches around the league are beginning to value the long-term mental health of their players -- as they should.