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Leonard Williams cleared from concussion protocol

Leonard Williams of the New York Jets fires

Leonard Williams of the New York Jets fires up the crowd against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The NFL concussion protocol has been under scrutiny of late, from Tom Savage returning to a game after taking a hard hit to the NFL fining Seattle for not putting Russell Wilson through the protocol. The Jets, however, did the right thing when it came to defensive end Leonard Williams.

The independent doctors took Williams out of Sunday’s game against the Saints after a third-quarter collision with teammate Demario Davis.

“I still don’t think it was anything huge,” said Williams, who was cleared from the concussion protocol Friday. “It didn’t look like I was stumbling or got hit real ly hard or anything like that. They were being on the safe side and they didn’t want to risk me getting any head or brain injury.”

Williams is expected to play Sunday against the Chargers.

The NFL announced that the Seahawks have been fined $100,000 for not following the concussion protocol and permitting Wilson to return to the game without an evaluation on Nov. 9. Seattle became the first NFL team fined for a violation of the rules. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said the fine was in conjunction with the NFLPA.

Savage took a hard hit against the 49ers and remained on the ground, his hands shaking. He left the game for a series before returning. Doctors then pulled him from the game after realizing their mistake.

Most NFL players don’t want to leave a game unless it’s a major injury, but more are realizing that just because they feel OK after taking a shot to the head, it doesn’t mean they are OK.

“I understand where the doctors are coming from and I talked to one of them yesterday that cleared me,” Williams said. “He’s saying from a doctor’s standpoint, they have to make sure we’re safe, but at the same time, they have to try and be fair to the players and try not to take them out.

“At the end of the day, missing one-half of the game for my long-term health is worth it even though I technically felt like nothing is really wrong with me. From a doctor’s standpoint, they’re going to have to do everything right to make sure that there’s nothing wrong. If that’s going to prevent me from having any type of brain or head injuries, then that’s what they gotta do.”

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