Last week, a friend of Jovan Belcher's told us that "if you review the footage of the Cincinnati game [Belcher] took a few hits to the head directly" and described how, after that game, Belcher "was dazed and was suffering from short term memory loss."
We reviewed the tape, and found neither an unusually high number of hits to the head for Belcher, nor any evidence that he was badly out of sorts by the end of the game. Belcher played inside linebacker, was on the field for the vast majority of each Bengals posession, and spent much of the day blitzing and battling in the trenches. He takes, and dishes out, a lot of contact; from what we could see, however, not more than an average player in an average game.
Above, the last tackle of Belcher's career, made with a little under six minutes remaining in the Bengals game. Belcher is number 59—you can see him sit on the field for an extra couple of seconds, get helped up, and shake his head. It's no smoking gun, but in the parlance of the average NFL announcer, Belcher is a little "shaken up on the play" and might need to "clear out the cobwebs," which, non-euphemistically, means he may have suffered some sub-concussive injury. The play-by-play announcer for this game, Marv Albert, doesn't mention Belcher's reaction to the hit, which makes sense—reactions like this are standard. Belcher would play sparingly against Peyton Manning and the Broncos next week, possibly for strategic reasons, and did not record a tackle in that game.