Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Eagles’ Malik Jackson says coming back from a concussion is easier when you might not have had one

The Eagles' defensive tackle said his actions after taking a hit, and not his answers to questions, caused him to leave the New Orleans game.

Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson, shown at practice, said he was reacting to getting hit on a tender shoulder when a concussion spotter decided he needed to be evaluated.
Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson, shown at practice, said he was reacting to getting hit on a tender shoulder when a concussion spotter decided he needed to be evaluated.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Malik Jackson and Darius Slay left the Eagles’ Dec. 13 victory over New Orleans with concussions. Jackson, a defensive tackle, was able to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol and play last Sunday at Arizona. Slay, the team’s top cornerback, was not.

This isn’t too remarkable; bodies are different, concussions are different. It isn’t like spraining an ankle.

But Jackson said Thursday that he thinks the reason he was able to be cleared so quickly was that he never actually had a concussion.

“It was upsetting, because I got labeled to have a concussion, in my opinion,” Jackson said. “I think they do a good job with the protocols, and the people watching [remotely], but for me, I got hit, and I have a bum shoulder, so my shoulder’s hurting. They say I laid in the posture [of someone who is concussed]. I’m running off the field, I take a knee because I want to give my guys a minute to rest and for the team to kind of acknowledge what’s going on, and have a chance to substitute. They said that was a knock on me.

“I go in the blue tent, I answer the guy’s questions, you know, very cognitive, we’re having a great conversation, and then it’s up to somebody that calls down and said that because I laid there like that and took a knee that I can’t go back.”

Jackson has just 1.5 sacks this season and could be an offseason salary cap casualty, given that he carries a $13.6 million cap hit next season. He said he would have liked to have had a chance to actually play in a game in which the Eagles were leading late, when the opposition had to pass, for a change.

“It would be nice if one of our team doctors, a guy that knows us and knows our attitudes and our mannerisms, could make that call,” Jackson said. “It kind of sucks when a guy that’s watching the game from his couch makes a call on you, and not the guy talking to you. But it is what it is.”

Slay’s concussion, meanwhile, was his second of the season. He said that was why he didn’t play in Arizona.

“Honestly, I felt like I needed to let my brain heal,” he said. “I want to be there for my kids. At the end of the day, I love this game, but this game is always going to continue without me. I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here, and be safe while I’m doing it.”

The eyes have it

Jalen Reagor was asked Thursday about a question that arose during the TV broadcast of the loss at Arizona. Fox’s cameras showed Jalen Hurts unable to connect down the sideline with Reagor, then Eagles coach Doug Pederson pointing to his eyes, and then to someone on the field. Analyst Aquib Talib guessed that Reagor looked back for the ball too soon and lost speed, causing the missed connection.

Reagor said Pederson wasn’t looking at him, and didn’t say anything when he went to the sideline. Reagor indicated the gesture might have been made toward an official who presumably missed a defensive hold that impeded Reagor.

Johnston limited

Eagles punter Cam Johnston was the biggest change from Wednesday in the Eagles’ injury report, Johnston going from no practice to limited practice, as he navigates the league’s concussion protocol.