The Atlanta Falcons might have avoided one calamity with the news that Dunta Robinson has been cleared by the NFL’s concussion protocol program and allowed to practice on Friday.
Robinson was injured in the regular-season-ending loss to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, a game the hard-hitting cornerback — and other starters — did not need to play because the Falcons already secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Losing him for their first playoff game next week against either Washington, Seattle or Minnesota would have been catastrophic. Pass-rush specialist John Abraham also was injured in the game. But he should be all right from the ankle injury by next Sunday.
Robinson led with his head when he attempted to bring down Bucs running back Doug Martin and suffered the concussion.
“It was very good to get Dunta back,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said to the media on Friday. “Dunta has been cleared to start practicing again. It’s good to have him back. It was a great turnaround from Sunday to Friday.”
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Falcons had advised Robinson to stop leading with his helmet. IN 2010, he suffered a concussion trying to tackle in a similar fashion.
“We address it all the time, not just with Dunta, but there is a certain strike zone that you try to hit when you’re tackling,” Smith said. “You really want to keep the head out of it.”
For a while after Robinson’s injury, the Falcons would not admit he had suffered a concussion. They called it a “head injury.” A reporter asked Smith about Robinson on Monday and the coach responded that the player was “in the concussion protocol,” ending any speculation.
Robinson will continue to be monitored as the Falcons go about getting ready to get out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.