CLEVELAND -- For the second time in the last month, Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler cleared the NFL Concussion Protocol.
Despite suffering a second concussion in 29 days, Kessler has no concerns about long-term effects from the head injuries, and instead, is focused on doing what is necessary to help the 0-12 Browns get into the win column for the first time this season.
“Football is a violent sport and things like that happen,” Kessler said. “I felt a lot better this time around than last time and felt symptom-free all week.
“Obviously, I was put in the protocol and that is just part of it, so I just followed those rules and got through it as fast as I can. I had no speedbumps or anything in the way, so I got through it pretty quick and was fortunate enough being able to practice these last two days.”
On November 20, Kessler exited the loss to the 24-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers after the third quarter of play due to a concussion, his second such injury during the regular season.
During the final play of the third quarter, Kessler took a snap from under center at the Browns’ 25-yard line and avoided the initial pass rush by escaping to the right of the formation and launching a 16-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman.
However, as Kessler let go of the ball, he was getting pulled down by Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier and got leveled by fellow linebacker Lawrence Timmons. The hit drove Kessler’s head into the ground and he was finished for the game.
“Every time you get one is different, which I understood,” Kessler said. “This time, I think initially, it was like I said a little more violent, but after that going through the protocol week and even that night, I felt fine and felt a lot better.”
Through eight starts for the Browns, Kessler completed 126 of his 192 attempts (65.6 percent) for 1,369 yards and six touchdowns with only two interceptions. However, Kessler was sacked 19 times for 129 lost yards and suffered the two concussions among other injuries.
Although Kessler cleared the protocol, it appears as though the Browns will go with Robert Griffin III as the starter when they return from the bye-week break with a game against AFC North Division foe, the Cincinnati Bengals, at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 11.
“That is Coach’s decision, but I know that I just went out there and did everything I could and played as hard as I could and put everything I have on the field,” Kessler said. “As a competitor, you want to be out there every chance you get, but like I said, whatever Coach decides.
“You want to get those reps, and I was fortunate enough to get them, understand the game and understand what to do and what not to do. If anything, though, this year has benefitted me a lot being able to learn in different situations and playing against different teams.”