Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren met with the press Wednesday afternoon for just the second time during the regular season (I believe), which I briefly reviewed yesterday. After the jump, you'll find the full press conference transcript, or if you'd like to sit through the entire thing, you can view the conference at the official team website. Usually I only select important quotes, but everything Holmgren says tends to be noteworthy.
During the conference, Holmgren said, "you're either with us or you're not," in regards to the team changing its way from over a decade of a losing culture in Cleveland. Holmgren always seems to inspire confidence with his words, and I'm still on board with the direction this team is headed in. Are there still important decisions to be made ahead? Of course. But the team has also established a good core group of players next year, particularly on the defensive front. Prior to this season, Holmgren and Tom Heckert basically said that they weren't going to do much in free agency. They have said differently about their intentions in 2012 though, and they also have a pair of first-round draft picks due to the nice trade pulled off this past April.
(Opening statement)- "Good morning everybody. I know you’re disappointed Pat’s (Shurmur) not here so I am pinch hitting. I thought it was necessary today to kind of set the record straight as I can about some of the things that have been happening the last few days. He will catch up with you after practice regarding football stuff. The purpose of this meeting and why I’m here is that the last couple of days we’ve met here with the NFL as well as the union, doctors and so on to get some sort of closure, hopefully, on the incident that took play with Colt (McCoy) in the game against the Steelers. As I said, there’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of things that have been written and said and the reason that we’ve waited as an organization to have this meeting is that we had to have those other meetings before so I wouldn’t say something and then I’d have to come back and change it. Now, we’ve had those meetings so now here it is. I also want to comment that on the schedule and how we have these, it’s going to be our decision. It’s not going to be your decision, okay. I believe we’re doing this correctly, I think I can clear up anything you might have on your mind regarding this situation and that’s the reason. Having said that, now I’ll open it up to questions."
(On if McCoy was examined and tested for a concussion while he was on the sideline Thursday night)- "No, he was not, but to add a reasonableness to that, I’m going to walk you through the steps and what we talked about yesterday. First of all, everyone was very forthright, clear and honest about what happened with them. The people in the meeting yesterday we had Dr. (Elliot) Pellman, who is the head doctor for the NFL, Dr. (Thom) Mayer, who’s the head doctor for the union, Ernie Conwell, who represented and is on the Board of the Players Union as a former player, you had our Dr. (Mark) Schickendantz, Dr. (Thomas) Waters, our team physicians, all our training staff, Tom Heckert and myself. Those were the people involved in the meeting. What the meeting was for was really to clarify for the union and the league, the timeline regarding Colt’s situation and so they did that. I’ll go over that briefly with you and then you can ask any more questions you want.
"When the injury took place on the field, at that time the question came up did the doctors see the impact of the play and they did not and our trainers did not. They were all working, as is typical in a game. They were working on other injured players either in the bench area or behind players so they did not see the play. Then they heard a crowd reaction, someone said Colt’s down. Colt wasn’t the only one down, Alex Smith was also down on the same play. Joe Sheehan, our trainer, ran out followed by Mark Schickendantz, they were working on Colt. Dr. Waters and Andre (Tucker), one of our other trainers, were working on Alex. Our doctors and trainers when they go out to an injured player on the field, follow our normal protocol.
"Before I go any further, our medical staff here and our training staff, we have the best in football. They are the absolute best in football, there’s no doubt in my mind. I’ve been in four organizations and we’ve had great medicine, but these guys are really good. One of the things that is troubling to me during this whole process is that they’re getting slammed pretty good along with the head coach and I hope after I explain to you what happened you can understand why it happened and it’s unfair.
"They went out as typical procedures, they got out to him and Colt was lucid, he was talking, his body language I guess doesn’t look real great, but Mark was looking at his face and his eyes, Joe was looking at the rest of him and he’s complaining of his hand. ‘I hurt my hand,’ is what he said. They look at his hand and he says, ‘It really hurts,’ and they talk to him a little bit and he talked to them. He was not unconscious when they got out there and they go, ‘Sit up,’ and he sat up, which you’ve seen on television I’m sure. They talked to him some more and he goes, ‘It’s my hand, my hand really hurts,’ and they go, ‘Okay’, looked at his hand, ‘stand up,’ they stood up and walk to the sideline. They walked to the sideline and sat on the bench. At that point, Dr. Waters, our internist, is finishing with the other injury and he comes over. Our strength coach, Kent Johnston, was over there. While they were sitting on the bench, which is another point of information, why wasn’t the ‘SCAT Test’ administered at that time? Following normal protocols like (Benjamin) Watson, like Owen (Marecic) prior to this happening, where we took them immediately inside. Their reaction to the way Colt was acting did not dictate that. They had not seen the play and he was talking, answering, looking out on the field, knew how much time was left so his responses following our normal protocols in the league did not dictate that they administer the test. Now you say, ‘well you’ve seen the hit, goodness gracious,’ but they hadn’t seen it. One of the things we talked about yesterday, quite honestly, and I will tell you this, we want to be and we have been and we will continue to be at the forefront of good medicine and protecting the players. We have established that and we will continue to establish that. Another irritant to me is that its business as usual around the Cleveland Browns. It’s not, it’s not. This was an incident that took place and hopefully after I explain how it happened, you’ll understand because it’s not. You talk to any of our players who have gone through this process in that locker room, do that before you write it’s business as usual, please.
"Okay, getting back to Colt. He’s on the sideline, he’s talking, he realizes there’s five minutes left, there’s no indication there of concussion. Other than the fact you look at the hit and think something must have happened, my goodness that was a bad one. But, they didn’t see it so one of the things we talked about yesterday in our meeting with the union is that that we want to be in the forefront of making this right. The NFL has an observer now at every game, but his job and I want to make this clear, his job is to watch the field and if someone is wobbling around or hurt and the team doesn’t see it, it’s his job to phone down and say, ‘Look, someone go check that guy.’ The reason he didn’t phone down was because our doctors and trainers were right there so we saw it and we were there. One of the things we talked about yesterday was because the people up in the boxes, and you guys, have the luxury of seeing replay and seeing the contact of the hit, that someone can then alert the bench and go, ‘Hey, listen. Spend a little more time with this one because this is what happened.’ The people on the field don’t have that luxury. That was one of the things we talked about yesterday, quite honestly and I think moving forward whether it be the observer who’s now at the game or whether it’s me or Tom Heckert or somebody, those are in discussions right now to just make a system that I think has improved over the years, goodness, those of you who have covered this for a long time know how the handling of concussions has improved and gotten better and changed, but as I told those fellas yesterday, ‘Hey, we’ve come a long way, but let’s make it even better.’ Those are the things that were discussed yesterday and will continue to be discussed at the league level and at the union level.
"Anyways, that’s what happened on the sideline. Colt said, ‘I’m good to go.’ He was talking so Joe Sheehan, the trainer, goes to the head coach, this is the same protocol I used for 25 years, it’s the same protocol I think everybody uses. Your trainer comes up to the head coach because he’s working and says one of three things. He’s out, give me some more time or he’s good to go and based on what they had done on the sideline and what they had done on the field and how Colt responded to things, Joe told Pat he’s good to go. Now, I want to make something very, very clear here. No coach that I know, I’m sure it happens, but no coach that I know, certainly not our head coach, would ever overrule a doctor and put a kid in the game where the doctor said you can’t play. I never did it, Pat will never do it. It’s not happening so anybody that had that kind of in the back of their mind because it’s a big game, it’s the Steelers, we had a chance to win the game, we’re going to roll the dice a little bit and throw him in, that’s not what happened. That will never happen so understand that too upfront. So that’s the information Pat got from the trainer, that’s why Colt went back in to the football game.
"Okay, the game is over, Colt is in the locker room, still not displaying any sort of concussion symptoms. He goes into the training room, the first thing they do is X-ray his hand. He goes through that, he showers, he does all that sort of thing then he is going to leave and go talk to you guys. At that time he goes, ‘Joe, I feel kind of funky,’ but he’d gotten the hell beaten out of him during the game and it’s not unusual, I’ve had a player say that to me too. Joe Thomas, we had some guys with the flu so it wasn’t something right out of the blue where you’d immediately (snaps fingers) say okay, but he said that so Joe said, as he should, ‘Hold it, go in and see Dr. Waters.’ He went back in the training room and it was at that point that Dr. Waters put him through the concussions tests, it was at that point. Now, I should know this exactly, but there are questions and there are points and I don’t know if they are six points or the big six, they have a name for it. There are things you ask, he passed all of them except he made the comment, ‘One of the toilet seats banged down while I was in the shower and it kind of startled me.’ It wasn’t anything that had to do with remembering, speaking, there’s a list of things. But that triggered something with Dr. Waters who says, ‘Okay, from now on we’re going into this protocol. No reading, no television, no phone, no this, no that.’ It was also at that point that Colt said, he asked Neal (Gulkis) I guess, could they dim the lights in the press conference. Another indicator of that is being sensitive to light as you all know, which is my understanding I wasn’t there, but he went into the press conference, dimmed the lights and that was it. We were in I would say possible concussion mode with him at that point. That was the point, okay. Going home on the airplane, he walked onto the airplane, he sat down, he sits next to Mark Schickendantz on the flight, he drives home, we got home late and he was going to come back into the office early the next morning for treatment. When he came back in he still had a headache and we proceeded to do where we are right now. That’s the timeline, that’s what happened, that’s exactly what happened. We talked about this, the doctors and everyone were very forthright yesterday. We had that meeting and when we left my feeling was, I don’t expect anything to happen in a punitive manner, but it was a good meeting because what could we have done a little differently? I already talked to you about another observer telling if they did not see the play, let’s just be extra careful here because that was quite a hit, that’s one thing. The other is they followed protocols, our doctors did a good job and we did what we had to do so that’s it.
"Now, Colt is home today, we sent him home. We are following the weekly protocols by league standards regarding concussions and he still has a headache, but other than that, from what they tell me, he’s good. But, we’re following protocols with Watson, we’re following protocols with Owen. In their case the sideline examination, there wasn’t a lot to examine, I mean boom, in and we’ve done that with any number of players. But, every injury has a different dynamic to it and I’m telling you that’s the way it was. Because he’s your quarterback and because all other stuff it probably takes on a little extra stuff, but we will always treat it, as an organization, it doesn’t make any difference who the player is we’re going to treat it properly and treat it that way so that’s what happened."
(On what Shurmur should have done in an intuitive sense)- "I’m not going to second guess Pat on that. Pat’s in the front lines, he’s got to make that decision. I’ve been there before with every quarterback I’ve ever coached. Every quarterback I’ve ever coached when I was on the sideline, (Brett) Favre, (Matt) Hasselbeck, all of them. They get dinged or something happened and times have changed now a little bit, but they’ll come over and then I’ll have that conversation with them and if I feel that they’re okay and good to go, they are back in the game. Absolutely, that’s what happened. I think Pat made a judgment there and Colt probably displayed to him what he displayed to our doctors and so that’s what happened. That’s his call, I’m sure you’ve asked him that. I’m not going to second guess it. He’s the coach, he’s got to make that call."
(On how someone on the sidelines probably saw it was a bad looking hit)- "That came up yesterday too, to be honest. If you remember the play he comes out, throws the ball and if you’re on the sideline, if you’ve been on the sideline, Doug’s (Dieken) been on the sideline. Well, you were always playing, sometimes you’re on the sideline. But, guys get on the sideline and all of a sudden you see that he throws the ball and you’re watching the ball, you’re watching (Montario) Hardesty and all of a sudden you hear, ‘Oooh,’ you look back and Colt is on the ground. It’s conceivable and I think it happened, but a lot of guys didn’t actually see the thing on the sideline as hard as that is to believe. We’ve had players, some of our players that will go over and say, ‘Take a look at this guy.’ That’s happened this season already, that didn’t happen. Now, you’re in the huddle, you’re the quarterback, you’re talking with guys, I’ve had guys in my career come out and go, ‘Hey, you better check Steve Young. Somebody better check him because it’s not coming out right.’ None of that happened. That was really the crux of the meeting yesterday. No one alerted anybody to this and it seems inconceivable, but no one did so how do we do this. Now, they get the information that they need, the doctors, and the best thing we could come up with was having somebody and putting in a process that and again, this is still to be talked, to have somebody say something at a proper time."
(On what time the medical staff realized there had been a helmet-to-helmet hit)- "They mentioned yesterday, they still didn’t know when they looked at him inside. There are a lot of hits in games now. They should have probably checked out the guy (Chris) Gocong hit on the goal-line stand, really. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on. This was kind of out in the open, it’s the quarterback. The doctors, I don’t know exactly the time and you know what, that’s not that important."
(On there being a roughing the pass penalty called on James Harrison on the play)- "There’s roughing the passer penalties on guys that hit guys in the helmet, just a brush so that in of itself wouldn’t have alerted anybody of anything. It really wouldn’t. Now, I don’t disagree with you. I saw the hit on replay and I go, ‘Okay, that’s not good.’ But, I’ve also seen hits where it looks bad and off you go. You really do have to just let the medical people go through their procedures and make the judgment they’re getting paid to make. I’m telling you we’ve got good guys. It didn’t start to show until the locker room and a good time into the locker room. That’s when they really got alerted to it I suppose."
(On if the league told the Browns and Shurmur specifically not to answer if McCoy was tested for a concussion until it was addressed on Tuesday)- "Before you can answer those questions honestly and truthfully, you probably have to get the doctors in the room and all of that kind of stuff. That’s what we did. That’s why we waited. Pat wasn’t in a position really to answer that question, precisely as I did. Then you get into what is the actual concession test, what is the SCAT. If you are Joe Six-Pack sitting in the stands and you read about the Browns every day and see, ‘They didn’t administer the SCAT-7,’ or whatever it is. ‘Oh my god, what is the SCAT-7? What is that? What do they do?’ so people don’t know. The other thing that was said was there was some system failure. Did you see that? ‘There was a system failure.’ If you are reading that, who’s system? Who failed? What was all of this? That was in reference to the league protocols, not the Browns. If you read that and you assumed the Browns did something wrong, you are wrong. That’s not what that meant. That meant, help the doctors, help them. The information they had, they did it right. Those were the two kind of hot things that kind of created some of the stuff that went on. I am just trying to tell you exactly what happened and why they did what they did. In my opinion, they did a good job. We want to be in the front so we are working very hard with the league, with the union to maybe make it even better than what it is as far as the evaluation process. That’s what we are trying to do."
(On how no one on the sideline could see the hit and if the doctors believed them when they were told that yesterday and what their reaction was that that statement)- "They said just what you said, ‘How could…’ That’s what they said and to a certain extent I kind of go, ‘Wow.’ But for whatever reason, that information, that did not happen. No, it didn’t happen."
(On if people saw the relay)- "I saw it. I saw it when our coaches saw it, when everybody saw it. By that time they had the replay going and he was on the bench. I think what would have happened, speculation and I know none of you ever speculate, but I think speculation is if they had that information that this was really a hit, because he wasn’t displaying any, I am not sure anything would have been different. I can’t say for sure but I think they might have checked him out a little bit longer. He didn’t display any of the normal characteristics, certainly not the characteristics, Watson had or Owen or (Scott) Fujita when that happened to him this season or any of the other guys. It just wasn’t there so it didn’t happen."
(On what type of feedback he got from the meetings)- "I think it was a very healthy meeting, I think we talked about what I said. From a league standpoint, from a union standpoint and the Browns and the clubs, we are talking about the Browns now, but we could be talking about any club in the league. This happened and how can we kind of make this a little bit better, if we can. That’s what I just mentioned, have an observer perhaps, those are the things that we talked about. It wasn’t a condemnation of how we handled the situation. It was, ‘You had this information, this was how you did it. They are competent, good doctors, we’re doing it right. Would it have helped to have a little more information?’ Perhaps. ‘How do we get that information to the doctors?’ Those kinds of things. That was really what the meeting was about."
(On if anyone has asked McCoy about what he remembers)- "I haven’t talked to Colt."
(On if McCoy was involved in any of the meetings)- "No."
(On how McCoy remembered the play after the game when talking to the media but not remembering anything when he got home and how the concussion didn’t affect him until later)- "Yeah, I haven’t talked to him."
(On if the doctor’s normally check for a concussion when the referee flags someone for a helmet-to-helmet hit)- "I think the doctors do what our doctors did. They bring him over and they are checking for all sorts for stuff. You talk with the player and then all of a sudden you get a feel, this is what they do. Here is what I don’t think is automatically done, a helmet-to-helmet hit or any sort of hit, they automatically kick into this 20 minutes test, which is essentially what that is. When they take players off the field and into the locker room, that’s usually where that is administered, right in there."
(On why they didn’t seek McCoy’s input when they were doing their review)- "By league rule, as long as he is under this sort of treatment, when he clears then he will talk to whoever he has to talk to. Prior to that, he’s not supposed to and just doesn’t do that. That’s my understanding."
(On if it was fair that James Harrison got a one game suspension)- "Those things I have to leave up to the league. I think they are trying very, very hard to make the game a little safer if they can for everybody. A play took place, there’s a system in place to deal with it, it was dealt with and I have to leave it at that."
(On if any doctor said that McCoy should have not flown back to Cleveland)- "No, not to my knowledge."
(On if Pat Shurmur will be the head coach next year)- "Absolutely."
(On if he can elaborate on that)- "No, but he’s going to be the head coach. I’ll elaborate on it, he’ll be the head coach."
(On why they took Seneca Wallace out of the game and if he can say that Wallace should have been in)- "No and that wouldn’t be right for me to say it. That’s a question the head coach has to answer, really. I had to answer it, he has to answer it. You have reasons for making decisions on the field at the time. I think that’s a fair question but I can’t answer that question."
(On if they can say that he asked Shurmur about keeping Wallace in but he just won’t reveal the answer)- "No, don’t say that either. Just ask him."
(On people thinking of it just being another year for the Cleveland Browns and business and usual with all the off the field issues this year like Joshua Cribbs, Peyton Hillis and now concussions)- "First of all, I don’t know what you are talking about. I have no idea about Josh Cribbs. Peyton Hillis, I get because he’s been hurt and everyone had high expectations for him as he did for himself. He has been injured. That’s kind of business as usual. The off the field things that have gone on in the past here are quite different from what’s happened this year. The concussion? My goodness, it’s an injury. A guy got hurt, it’s a concussion. Just by the nature of your question, you are implying something. I am telling you don’t do that. There will be concussions this season, there will be concussions next season and there will be concussions five years from now so is it the same old Browns five years from now because we had a concussion? No, so please don’t do that."
(On if he thinks it is fair that some people view this as a continuation of things happening off the field)- "No, for the reasons I just gave you."
(On why he isn’t involved more publicly)- "I do a fair amount behind the scenes, but in defining what my role is here, in my defining what my role is here, was to hire good people, let them works and support them the best way I can. That’s why I’m not having a press conference, that’s why I don’t have a radio show, some people do I suppose. I’ve done that, I did it for 25 years, I don’t want to do that anymore. I just assume support, help build up and get it where it’s supposed to be behind the scenes a little bit. If something requires me to be here, like I think today did, I will be here. But, we have a very, very competent young head coach who will be here for a long time. We have a great general manager who has done a great job in drafts and will continue to do that. We haven’t scored enough points this year, but our defense is okay and we’ll get better. But, we will fix that. In the two years we’ve been here, I made a decision on the first year on why I treated the first year a certain way and I’m not looking back or have any regrets about that. This is like the second first year and you can say, ‘You wasted a year.’ We know that now, I suppose you could say that now, but at the time? No. I don’t regret the decision I made. We had a good draft, we’re building it, now we’re awful young because we had to change the roster quite a bit after the first year. The problem is and the tough thing for you guys and our fans is it seems it’s business as usual, which is very easy to write and say, but I’m telling you that it’s not. You can choose to believe me or you can say, ‘I’ve heard it before.’ That’s your choice, but when it does happen, don’t come to me for extra tickets to a playoff game or something. Don’t do that. You’re either with us or you’re not. I’m telling you it’s different now."
(On the fans looking for more points this year and how watching the games it seems to be the same as over the last few years)- "I think there are for some reasons for that and we’re going to get into that in the offseason. We’re going to evaluate everything we do. Offensively, if you just look at our games this season, if we did we did two things better. If we do two things better we have a chance to be 7-6 or something and people would be feeling a little bit better about themselves. I know the coaches would. If we would have just been able to snap the damn ball and catch a few more passes. We’ve dropped too many passes and we had trouble with snapping the ball. If you just do those two things a little bit better and maybe people get off that same old same old thing. But, that’s football and as my friend Bill Parcels is quoted as saying, ‘You are what you are.’ I’m just saying that has contributed to the fact of where we are. The other thing is we’re implementing a new system, new coach, new young quarterback, all those things that you’ve heard before, but they’re real. That’s real. We’ll have a good offseason, we’re going to have a good draft. If we didn’t score some more points next year, I’d be very, very concerned, but it has been a problem. I’m not arguing with you. It’s a frustration for me too when you have to win a game 14-13 or 10-7 or whatever, but the fact is that’s where we are right now, that’s not where we’re always going to be."
(On where his mindset is right now in terms of McCoy)- "If you don’t mind, what I’d like to do there, and I’m taking a page from Tom’s book here, at the end of the season, Tom Heckert and I’ll will come in here and have a season ending session with you. Those types of questions, we’ll deal with at the time at the end of the year."
(On what they think out about McCoy)- "Please, we’ll do that at the end. Okay? In fairness to Colt and in fairness to everybody."
(On if he can address people saying players should have retaliated after Harrison’s hit)- "I get it and really when it came into the league that happened a lot more than it happens now I think. Then there is a penalty. That whole thing got us down into scoring position to win the game. All of a sudden we retaliate and then there’s off setting fouls. It’s just not a good way to go. I never coached that way and I know Pat doesn’t coach that way. As hard as it is, you walk away. You try and teach them to walk away because he always sees the second guy. If something happens like that you do it legally and you do it within the framework of what you’re doing and how you’re playing football. You knock a guy on his back, you get after somebody, but to start a big fight out there or do something, that’s not the right thing to do. That’s not how I want our team to be. Do I want them to remember? Yeah, but do I want him to do that in a game? No."
(On if he expects changes to be made in the system based on their meeting)- "I think on-going there will be some tweaks, absolutely. Anytime you have a situation like this it’s pretty visible. It allows every opinion known to man to pile in and then you have to be careful and do the right stuff. We want to be very involved with the league, with the union in deciding what that is. I would fully expect more conversations and more meetings to take place in the future. Not with us, but in trying to make this as safe as we can for the players."
(On if assigning an independent neurologist for each game was brought up)- "Yeah, that’s something that came up."
(On if they could have the same problem because they already had two other players out with concussions)- "Yeah, that came up yesterday too. It did. The first step that I would like to see is to just be able to alert your sideline personnel. If they did not see the play, somehow have a mechanism where you could alert somebody to get to them and say, ‘This is what happened.’ We have really good people. I can’t tell you enough and you know this. You know them. We have really good people and for me to tell a doctor, I’m never going to be able tell a doctor to do his job. If someone could just say, ‘Hey, this is what the hit was.’ Now he has more information. My daughter is a physician, I’ve talk to her about it. She also thinks she’s a football coach (joking). We’ve talked about this a lot. She said, ‘It’s like when I’m in some sort of trauma and I get information. But, if I also knew that this happened, then I might have handled this differently.’ That’s really what we are talking about. I’d like to see that happen."
(On if the observer had the power to call the sideline after the hit)- "I think that’s what the reference was when he said, ‘A systems failure.’ I’m not making any excuses. His job is to look for players that are not being treated. That’s what they put him in the box to do so he goes, ‘That’s my job. These guys are taking care of this.’ Now, I think through discussions, I’d be premature, but they’re going to be talking about it."
(On if the league and the union accepted that they just didn’t see it happen)- "I don’t know whether they accepted it or not. We said it. Our guys just said what happened. But, like you, Tony asked me, ‘come on,’ and there’s a side of me that says, ‘Yeah, come on,’ but it happened."
(On how he can put out the impression that Brad McCoy’s comments don’t match up to what happened when he hasn’t spoken with Colt McCoy himself)- "We’ve talked to Brad McCoy. That’s how I can say what I’ve said."
(On evaluating where the team is)- "Again, those types of questions if you’ll allow me, I’ll talk about it at the end of the year. Would I like a better record? Absolutely. I think we have had chances to have a better record right now. We had chances and we let a couple things slip away. There’s no question about that. I think everyone feels that way. The detail and really how I feel, we’ll do that at the end of the year."
(On his frustration with the dropped passes)- "It’s horrible."
(On if the dropped passes have surprised him)- "Everyone’s paid to do something, block, throw, tackle, catch. That’s what you should do if you’re asked to do that."
(On if the receivers have stepped up the way he had hoped in the West Coast offense)- "I’ll say it again, if you’ll allow me. I’ll deal with all that stuff. Really, this was trying tell you exactly what happened the other night. That’s the main thing for why I’m here, I can talk now. I’ll be happy to talk at the end of the season and try and address those things. I’m not dodging it, right now is not the time."
(On if hypothetically speaking that was one of his players that made a hit like Harrison’s, does he feel it should have been a penalty)- "Mike Tomlin probably said it best. He said it was a penalty, whatever he said today it was pretty clear cut. He said he thought it was a penalty. I will say this, there are times in a game when stuff happens without intent, but it happens and you’re not judging intent here. You’re judging what happened. That’s the only way you can do it so that’s the way they did it."
(On it being a nationally televised game and if he remembers a situation like this where a concussion didn’t reveal itself until later)- "Oh yeah, I had Steve Young in college. He played a whole game and did not remember a thing, not one thing. Steve had a couple concussions at the end of his career with the 49ers, but in college he was hurt in the first quarter of a game and played, functioned. But, it’s better now. We’re doing what we should be doing now in protecting the players. I want you to know that we tried to do everything right the other night to protect our players. If there’s anything else we can do now to make that better because, we mentioned yesterday, in 20 years the idea of treating concussions and how we administer postgame and during a game, it’s really changed, my goodness. I remember I’ve talked about it in here before. They would just give you a little ‘whoop’ under the nose and how many fingers? You’re good, back in. That’s not how it is now and our guys do a great job. One of the main reasons, me talking to you, is our head coach and our medical staff, trainers and doctors, did what they’re trained to do and they’re good. Given all the things you said, national TV, all the stuff that happened, those guys did what they were supposed to do. Now, can we make the system a little bit better? Another observer? More information? I think we probably can do that, but those guys were okay."
(On if he and the medical staff felt fortunate McCoy didn’t take another hit to the head when he was out there)- "He got tackled, he got sacked a few times if I remember correctly. I don’t remember exactly, but I think the second play he was in, he got the grounding call. He still played football. He played football another whole series. I don’t know, eight more plays while we were mopping up at the end, got sacked on the last play of the game. We didn’t know."
(On what he would like to see happen the rest of the season before getting to the offseason)- "I’d like to win a couple of these down the stretch. I had a situation in Seattle I think year three or four where we were exactly the same way. We were 4-9, Hasselbeck was new, we had three playoff teams if I remember correctly. We had Atlanta, San Diego and somebody else to play in the last three games, good teams, I’m going, ‘Boy, this is going to be tough,’ and we won all three. Matt kind of established himself, threw for a lot of yards, did some stuff and really was the spring board for the future there. They also removed me from the general manager’s job after that game, which I don’t agree with to this day, but I’m over it."
(On Eric Mangini winning the last four games of the 2009 season and there being no carry over to the next season)- "This is a different situation."
(On if he feels the air is cleared after speaking with Brad McCoy)- "I didn’t say I spoke to him. We heard from Brad McCoy."
(On if the air is cleared after they talked to Brad McCoy)- "As far as I can tell, yeah."
(On the local media getting no comment from the team after national reports were made and how the local media has to respond to the national reports)- "You guys do a heck of a job, you really do. I understand, trust me. I get ticked off every once in a while if something is written that’s not true, which I hope you understand. I also understand the job you have to do, I get all that. I just think it would have been premature for me to comment prior to today because I didn’t have all the stuff so I could present it to you properly. We’re trying to be better as far as transparency and dealing with you guys, we are so I don’t know what to tell you. Everything that is said, certainly on the national level in this day in age with the tweeters and the bloggers and all those people, sometimes unlike years past where you needed two sources and all the stuff you use to do. Stuff comes out that immediately from players that they go, ‘Oh, I wish I hadn’t sent that out.’ Then the next day they’re saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean that,’ and all that kind of stuff. It’s just in our rush to judgment on things, I would ask you to believe me a little bit and trust me on how we’re doing things around here. It’s hard because we’re not scoring any points, but I’m not going to lie to you and we will try and get you the proper message at the appropriate time, but that it’s true and that is why this took a little longer. I’m sorry it took longer, but it took a little longer before I could talk to you about this."
(Closing statement)- "Okay guys now make sure you touch base with Pat and you know what, he’s a good man and he’s going to be the coach around here for a long time. But, he’ll deal with the football things after practice today."