Browns' Weeden returns from concussion, will start

Associated Press Modified: November 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm •  Published: November 28, 2012
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BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Although his mind was jumbled, Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden knew exactly where he was — and it wasn't where he wanted to be.

Still in his uniform, but without his helmet after being forced out with a concussion in the final minutes on Sunday, Weeden turned to the team doctors in Cleveland's locker room and begged them to let him go back to the sideline to see the final snaps of a 20-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They wouldn't budge, so he watched on TV.

"It was frustrating. I wanted to finish that one," Weeden said. "But it was nice to celebrate with the guys after the game."

Weeden was cleared to practice Wednesday, three days after sustaining the first concussion of his football career. The 29-year-old was limited during the workout but he will start this week when the Browns (3-8) visit the Oakland Raiders and try to snap a 12-game road losing streak.

Weeden didn't appear to have any restrictions during the portion of practice open to the media. He threw passes with the customary zip on the ball and moved around without any problems. Afterward, Weeden said he's been symptom free for several days.

As tough as it was for him to leave only Cleveland's second win in 18 games over the rival Steelers, Weeden knew it was the right decision. He had banged his head on teammate Joe Thomas' leg after throwing an interception and was slow getting up.

Once he was on the sideline, Weeden was examined by the Browns medical staff and answered all their mandatory questions to test for a concussion. However, Weeden told them he didn't "feel right" and was taken to the locker room for further tests.

Backup quarterback Colt McCoy came off the bench to close out Cleveland's win, playing the final two series as the Browns tried to run out the clock. It was an ironic twist for McCoy, whose 2011 season ended when he suffered a serious concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

Weeden knows he may have been able to talk his way into staying in the game, but he could have endangered his health.

"You've got to be smart about it," he said. "You're talking about a brain. I don't want to be 50 years old and not remember playing in the NFL. I'd much rather sit out five minutes of a game than risk the long-term effect."

With eliminating head injuries a league priority, Weeden said it's critical for players to take it upon themselves to protect their health. The league has a strict protocol to follow once a player sustains a concussion, and Weeden feels the most important step is to be truthful.

"You just have to be honest," he said. "There's several steps you've got to work out. You've got to run, you've got to do some tests, you've got to do some things. There's a long laundry list of things you've got to do, but the main thing is just be honest and tell them what your symptoms are and tell them how you feel. They have to kind of trust you and you have to pass the test with flying colors."

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