GREEN BAY – This was good to hear.
“The news I’ve been given on Davante so far is everything looks positive,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of receiver Davante Adams, who was taken off Lambeau Field on a stretcher after a nasty hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan.
“He’s already giving them a hard time at the hospital to get out of there, so that’s a great sign.”
It sure is, and it makes it easier to celebrate the Packers’ 35-14 victory Thursday night knowing Adams apparently is going to be OK.
It didn’t look that way when Trevathan lowered the boom on Adams in the red zone. With his momentum stopped by other Bears defenders after a short reception, Adams absorbed a powerful helmet-to-helmet blow from Trevathan that sent Adams’ mouthguard flying and briefly knocked him out.
Teammates Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson were immediately, and frantically, waving medical personnel onto the field to tend to Adams. The loudest noise in the press box all night came from the gasps and groans when the replay was shown.
Adams was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated for head and neck injuries, but he was conscious with feeling and movement in all his extremities when he left the field.
“It’s really tough to see your teammate not able to move,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “You could tell he was in a bad place, in a bad way.
“That’s never easy, whether it’s a guy like Malachi (Dupre), who you spend only a few weeks with, or a guy like Nick Collins who you win a Super Bowl with and you’re drafted in the same class. It’s tough.”
Rodgers exchanged harsh words with some of the Bears on the field afterward, saying he didn’t like to see any celebrating when a player is carted off.
He gave Trevathan the benefit of the doubt, though, after hearing how the linebacker was pleading his case with the officials.
“I trust when Danny said he wasn’t intentionally trying to hit him like that,” Rodgers said. “He is one of the hardest-hitting players in the NFL. He made a hit on one of our guys last year in the hole that was one of the hardest hits I’ve ever heard.
“But I don’t think he was intentionally trying to hurt ’Tae.”
Nelson didn’t attack Trevathan, either. He only wished the play had been whistled dead sooner, because forward progress was clearly stopped.
One play after Adams was wheeled off, Nelson caught his second touchdown of the game and went to a knee in the end zone.
“That definitely was for ’Tae,” Nelson said. “Obviously, we said some prayers while he was laying there. Just another opportunity to do it. It’s not fun to see your brother laying there motionless like that, and being that close is scary.”
For his part, Trevathan told reporters after the game he wasn’t intentionally trying to hit Adams the way he did. He said he planned to reach out to Adams and send him a message.
“You never wish that on nobody,” Trevathan said. “My main concern is that he’s OK.”
His words won’t stop him from getting fined and possibly suspended, though. A new rule allows for suspensions for first offenses on egregious hits, so how the NFL reacts to Trevathan’s hit will be watched closely, especially after he led with the crown of his helmet.
The only punishment administered on the field was a personal foul, which ended up costing the Bears just four yards, half the distance to the goal at the time. One look at the replay had many observers wondering how Trevathan wasn’t ejected from the game.
The giant disparity in those thoughts raises the question whether the NFL will sometime soon adopt a “targeting” rule for immediate ejections like in college, or at least make significant player-safety violations subject to on-the-spot replay review.
Instead, players, coaches and fans alike will wait perhaps days for a disciplinary ruling on a hit that made everybody cringe in an instant.
Adams may get home from the hospital sooner than expected, but the hit he took will have a longer shelf life. How long could depend on just how badly the NFL wants those hits out of the game.
McCarthy said conversations about possible rule changes are for the offseason. If those talks indeed take place next spring, Trevathan’s hit will almost certainly be at the center of the discussions.
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