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Protocol Failure? Kenny Pickett Concussion Symptoms after Being Cleared



Steelers QB Kenny Pickett

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett returned to Sunday’s contest against Baltimore after first being evaluated for and cleared for a concussion, but left a drive later after experiencing symptoms.

Pickett was hit by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith on the opening drive of the game. He was checked in the team’s medical tent and allowed to return to the sideline and then the offense without missing a play. But after a second series, Pickett went to the Steelers’ locker room and did not return.

“When he became symptomatic, he was pulled from the game and evaluated for a concussion,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “I don’t know about the sequence or the details regarding the sequence.”

Tomlin did not have any further update on Pickett’s status other than that he is still being evaluated.

Veteran signal-caller Mitch Trubisky replaced Pickett and promptly led a scoring drive, but struggled later on, throwing three interceptions on the Ravens’ half of the field. Trubisky said that he got ready to go into the game when Pickett was first injured, but Pickett said he was doing OK at first.

The Steelers only dressed two passers, as Mason Rudolph was inactive for the contest. Rudolph has yet to appear in a game this season for Pittsburgh.

It appeared that Pickett was improving and getting more comfortable within the attack prior to Sunday’s loss, so the Steelers will hope the situation isn’t too serious. Pickett was in the concussion protocol one time earlier this season, when he left the team’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. He did not return to that game, but was able to play the following week. The situation behind center will certainly be something to watch for as the week progresses, as the Steelers now must essentially win out to retain hope of making the playoffs following Sunday’s 16-14 loss to Baltimore.

The Steelers only other significant in-game injury was a knee injury to defensive tackle Chris Wormley. Tomlin also did not have an update to his status.

Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.

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