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Jaguars unaware Bernard Pierce had concussion symptoms until after game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have been unable to determine when Bernard Pierce suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, and the running back told the team he's also unsure when it happened.

That means Pierce could have very well have been experiencing concussion symptoms during the play in which he blocked a Bucs player instead of making the tackle in punt coverage.

Jaguars medical personnel were unaware that he was experiencing concussion symptoms until Pierce told them about an hour after the game.

"There was no in-game information provided to the team that indicated these symptoms," Jaguars spokesman Tad Dickman said.

Pierce was diagnosed with a hamstring strain late in the first half and did not play in the second half. He did not say anything to team doctors about concussion symptoms during that time, and it wasn't until after he spoke to the media in the locker room, telling them he had no idea what happened on the punt, that he told doctors he wasn't feeling well.

After being examined, Pierce was placed in the NFL's concussion protocol. The Jaguars studied the game film on Monday and were unable to determine if Pierce suffered the concussion on a single play or if it was the result of multiple blows to the head.

The NFL has safeguards in place to protect players that do suffer concussions from re-entering a game. A player suspected of having a concussion is taken to the locker room for evaluation. If he tests positive for a concussion, he is not allowed to return to the game.

The NFL also has concussion spotters in the press box that have the ability to signal the officials on the field and call a medical timeout if they see a player who's exhibiting concussion symptoms but hasn't had a chance to be evaluated by team doctors.

No one on the Jaguars' sideline noticed Pierce acting unusually or experiencing concussion symptoms, and the Jaguars said the concussion spotter in Tampa did not notify officials or their sideline of any potential issue with Pierce.

Video of the play in which Pierce makes a block instead of a tackle has gone viral over the past two days. Pierce slowly ran toward Tampa Bay punt returner Bobby Rainey, then inexplicably turned around and blocked the Bucs player that was trailing behind him. Rainey ran right past Pierce's left hip on the way to a 58-yard return to the Jacksonville 17-yard line.

"I don't know [what happened]," Pierce said after the game. "I really don't have an answer for you.

"I can't really explain it."

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said that he didn't know if Pierce had a concussion before that play, but it would explain what happened.

"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it, but I know he's in the concussion protocol," Bradley said. "I know after the game he had concussion symptoms. I don't know [if Pierce was concussed before the play]. I imagine so.

"I don't know when it occurred [or] how it concurred. I just know at the end of the game, he had concussion [symptoms]."