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NFL Rules Concussion Protocol Not Followed for Matt Moore vs. Steelers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NFL announced Wednesday the Miami Dolphins medical staff did not properly follow the league's concussion protocol following a hit on quarterback Matt Moore during their AFC Wild Card Round loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 8.

A memo from the NFL and NFLPA told the Dolphins to "engage their staff in a full review of the protocol and conduct additional education, if necessary."

The team was not issued a punishment for its violation, though the NFL announced potential fines would come into play if the Dolphins do not follow the protocol in the future.

Executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum said the Dolphins "respect the health and safety of their players," in response to the NFL's letter, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Moore missed just one play after taking a hard hit to the head from Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree in the second quarter of Miami's 30-12 loss. He lay on the field for an extended period of time and was briefly checked out by the medical staff on the sideline before returning. Dupree's hit drew an unnecessary-roughness flag, and the two teams nearly came to blows.

Moore said most of his pain was in his jaw after the game.

"I just got popped," he told reporters. "I needed a second there. I got checked out. I felt fine. It was more of my jaw than anything else. I felt good. I came back and was fine. He got me pretty good."

The NFL and NFLPA opened a joint investigation into the matter following the game. Many fans and media members criticized the swiftness with which Moore was brought back into the contest, highlighting supposed shortcomings in the concussion protocol.

The league's review noted the Dolphins failed to follow the protocol by not taking Moore to the locker room when he was bleeding from the mouth, which requires further examination by rule.

The Dolphins medical staff followed proper protocol by including an independent neuro-trauma consultant in clearing Moore to return to the game. Both the Dolphins team doctor and the consultant approved Moore's return.

Moore was not diagnosed with a concussion and finished the game with 289 yards passing, one touchdown and an interception.

"There is no indication that competitive issues had an impact on the care that Mr. Moore received, nor did Mr. Moore demonstrate any concussion symptoms either during or at any time following the game," the NFL's statement read.

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