Mike Wallace passed the concussion protocol but decided to sit out a Ravens game

Ravens receiver Mike Wallace -- formerly of the Steelers, Dolphins, and Vikings -- has missed two games in his nine-year NFL career. The second instance came in Week 8 of this season, when Wallace sat out the Ravens' 40-0 win over the Dolphins last Thursday night. A week later, Wallace revealed that his absence was entirely voluntary. 

Just four days earlier, during the Ravens' Week 7 loss to the Vikings, Wallace departed the game with a concussion after taking a nasty hit. The thinking was that he never passed the concussion protocol in time for the Ravens' Week 8 game. But on Thursday, Wallace explained that he actually did pass the concussion protocol. He just didn't feel safe playing so soon after the concussion.

As BaltimoreRavens.com's Ryan Mink reported, Wallace said that he initially told the team he planned to play immediately after the injury happened. But he made his decision to sit out after talking with his mother, partner, and daughter.

"It was tough, man," Wallace said, per the team's website. "It was a decision I was going back and forth with the whole day.

"As bad as I wanted to play, I felt good, I felt great, just the risk of getting hit like that twice … chances are real slim, but there's always a possibility when you step on the field and I don't want to be out there second-guessing anything."

Though it sounds like his family played a huge role in his decision, Wallace maintained that the choice was his.

"Talking to my mom and my girl, they were like, 'No.' They were never in support of me playing in that game, but at the end of the day it was my decision," Wallace said.

Wallace added that "the knowledge of what's going on with the head injuries and things like that" contributed to his decision and that he knows it was the right decision in part because of the Ravens' 40-0 win. Obviously the Ravens didn't end up needing him during their beatdown over the Dolphins, but even if they had, sitting out probably would've been a smart decision for Wallace. The NFL certainly has a head injury problem and one of those problems is players being willing to self-report concussions. In the past, we've seen multiple players continue to play even when concussion symptoms were present. Obviously, that's a problem, which is why the league has handed neutral parties the power to make players leave the game to get checked out. Ultimately, though, players feeling like they have the ability to bench themselves would have a huge impact on player safety. Of course, that then brings up a whole different issue of the nature of NFL contracts (not guaranteed), but that's a longer story for another day.

It's worth noting that No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett -- the Browns' defensive end -- self-reported a concussion recently. 

"I'll play through my foot, my arm, anything that's affecting me below my neck," Garrett said, per ESPN. "I can't play around with my brain."

In 2015, a study discovered that 87 out of 91 deceased players had CTE. In July, another study found that 110 of 111 of former NFL players had CTE. So, maybe progress is being made as awareness increases.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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