GREEN BAY, Wis. — Davante Adams has made some remarkable returns from concussions in his young NFL career.
There was the Thursday night game against the Bears last season. Four days after he was concussed at Dallas, he caught 13 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in what he called “a statement game” after getting hit and being able to “show [something to] my teammates more than anything, my teammates and the coaches.”
Then there was the game at Dallas on Oct. 8. Ten days after he was taken off the field on a gurney and spent a night in the hospital after Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan’s hit, Adams caught seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns — including the game-winner with 11 seconds to play.
Both times he returned without missing a game.
This time, there’s no reason for the Green Bay Packers’ budding star receiver to play again the rest of the season after he was concussed on Sunday at Carolina, where Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis leveled him with an illegal block that led to a suspension.
If Adams is indeed the future cornerstone of the receiver group, as it would appear he is, the Packers would be foolish to risk a third head injury in the same season.
And from Adams’ perspective, the idea of playing another down of football without a new contract wouldn’t be a wise business decision.
Adams is nearing the end of his rookie contract, which, as a second-round pick in 2014, added up to a total of $3.933 million. He should be in line to collect more than 10 times that over his next four-year deal.
But it’s worth wondering if the Packers and other teams might be concerned because Adams has suffered three concussions in the past two seasons.
Fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb said Tuesday that Adams was “frustrated” after taking a second illegal hit this season.
Adams has never once talked publicly about money, saying only that he hopes his next contract is with the Packers, but he referenced his “livelihood” in a series of tweets directed at Davis, saying that players should “be in this together [and] look out for one another [and] not mess with a man['s] livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions.”
Adams isn’t allowed to speak to reporters while he’s still in the concussion protocol so it’s unknown if he’s willing to play again this season without a contract extension — and with the playoffs out of reach — but when that idea was proposed to Cobb, he said: “Well, you tell him that. I’ll let you tell him that.”
On the day the Packers shut down Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season, coach Mike McCarthy said the team also would play it safe with Adams.
“We’re going to be smart,” McCarthy said. “We’re not going to take any chances.
“You don’t release a player out of the protocol until he’s ready to play,” McCarthy added. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, whether that’s more conservative I can’t tell you as far as how we can compare it to other teams. But our players don’t come out of the protocol until we feel they’re ready to play. That’s why you’ll see we’ve had certain players be trial return in practice because there’s different stages that you have to go through, but until they clear, they’re not eligible to play.”