Marshal Yanda does not … I repeat … DOES NOT like coming off the field.
That was evident when the Ravens’ veteran Pro Bowl guard was removed from action by the NFL’s concussion spotter during Sunday’s 34-17 win over the Oakland Raiders.
The referee, who is stationed in a booth high above the field of play, is tasked with looking for players with possible concussions. When they suspect one, they radio down to the field, play is stopped and that player must leave the field to be evaluated. It’s part of the league’s new rules focused on player safety.
But Yanda wasn’t having it. When he was told he must go to the sideline on a fourth-quarter third-down play, Yanda protested to the officials. Despite Yanda’s objections, they told him it was mandatory and Head Coach John Harbaugh shrugged his shoulders and waived Yanda off.
Angry as he stomped to the sideline, Yanda was approached by Head Certified Athletic Trainer Ron Medlin, who seemed to be trying to calm Yanda down.
“Get off me Ron! Don’t touch me!” Yanda yelled at him, swatting Medlin’s hand off his pads.
Yanda went into the blue tent, was evaluated for a concussion and quickly cleared in time to return to the field for the Ravens’ next offensive series. Before he took the field, Yanda apologized to Medlin.
After the game, Yanda explained the whole incident to the media:
“You know, heat of the battle, I was fired up. I already gave Ron Medlin a big hug, because I love the guy. It was just a little bit of friendly fire.
“[The officials] said that I possibly got hit in the head. I adjusted my facemask, so I was pulling it down – it got pushed up – so I was pulling it down, and in their minds, they thought that I was grabbing my head. And then I got rolled up on the play a little bit, so my knees were a little sore. So, I got up, and I was just moving my knees around, and they thought that I was wobbly. So, [they thought] I grabbed my head, and I got up, and I was wobbly. So, I completely get their protocol, but in the heat of the battle, I didn’t understand. I didn’t want to come off the field.
“I apologize for the little … Your adrenaline is pumping, and you’re fired up, you just don’t want to come out of the game at all costs. That was a third down, and I just wanted to be out there. But after they explained everything to me, I understand now. It was the perfect storm where I pulled my helmet down to get my chinstrap readjusted, and I got up, and I was checking my knees. So, that’s what went down.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh pointed out that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr also got flagged by the concussion spotter late in the game and sent to the sideline. He also relayed a little story about head referee Clay Martin trying to take the heat off his on-field crew with Yanda so angry.
"I guess that’s the kind of passion you appreciate in your guys, and you appreciate the league taking the steps they need to take to protect the guys," Harbaugh said. "It’s just part of the game right now, and it’s a good part of the game.”