Rookie Raiders safety Johnathan Abram made a number of noisy and violent hits Monday night. Late in the third quarter, with his team up 14–3, Abram drew a 15-yard penalty for lowering his head to initiate contact on a tackle of Broncos running back Royce Freeman, who was slowed up on the sideline by a sprawling Gareon Conley. Abram’s momentum on the hit spun him into Conley, and the force of the collision was directly to the top of Conley’s head. Conley immediately reached for his head in pain, and soon had to be immobilized on a backboard and carted off the field:
This play is a really unfortunate example of the limitations of recent measures taken to protect players: a flag was thrown on a hit that did not result in an injury, during the same play—in the very same collision!—that led to a frightening, game-stopping head or neck injury, caused as much by momentum as anything else. Rules that exist to control and limit the ways that NFL players hit and tackle each other can only go so far to protect against these sorts of injuries in football.
We’ll update this post with information on Conley’s condition as it becomes available.
UPDATE 2:25 a.m.: This is short on details but is at least a little bit encouraging.