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Sean Payton on Saints TE Coby Fleener’s concussion, team’s training staff, NFL spotter

November 30, 2017

Saints tight end Coby Fleener suffered a concussion during Sunday’s game against Los Angeles when he was hit illegally over the middle by Rams defensive back Blake Countess.

Countess was flagged for unnecessary roughness.

But Fleener returned to the game later, dropping a pass before New Orleans discovered the symptoms of a concussion. According to Saints coach Sean Payton, Fleener’s symptoms did not manifest themselves immediately after the hit. Tight ends coach Dan Campbell noticed an issue and made the decision to pull him.

“I don’t think, No. 1, there were any signs or indications from our medical crew or anyone, and it wasn’t until a play or two later, I’m going to say early the next series, where he was having more a vision issue,” Payton said. “As soon as Dan, his position coach, realized it, we held him back, and then went ahead and had testing.”

Payton did not know why the NFL’s independent concussion spotter did not weigh in on Fleener’s injury.

“There were no signs or symptoms immediately following the hit,” Payton said. “Now, why the spot checker upstairs (didn’t pull Fleener). ... Our people, we’re pretty on top of that and pretty aggressive.”

Payton expressed confidence in the New Orleans training staff’s precaution regarding concussions. Fleener has had several during his NFL career.

“We have a complete protocol; the Saints have one that’s real strict,” Payton said. “We’ve had playoff games where if it’s even close, we wouldn’t put a player back in, we never will. As soon as there’s any sign, but initially, there were none, even when he was looked at.”