The Atlanta Falcons have announced that cornerback Christopher Owens has been placed in the NFL concussion protocol program. Owens left Monday night’s game against the Denver Broncos with a head injury during the first quarter of play.
“He starts that protocol today,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “With a short week, that limits the time frame in terms of getting him back. We can’t rule him completely out, but he is in the concussion protocol.”
By the terms of the NFL’s program, which was put in place to limit potential long-term traumatic brain injury cases amongst players, Owens will not be eligible to play until he has passed the required testing that will medically clear him to be on the field.
Cornerback Dominique Franks came in the game to play the nickel back position after Owens left with his injury, but CB Robert McClain also got some playing time and did come up with Atlanta’s third interception of the game.
“[McClain’s] role is probably going to change this week because of his play and because of other circumstances with our defensive group,” Smith said.
This is probably coach Smith’s roundabout way of saying that McClain was impressive in coverage against the Broncos, and that he’ll be getting some more snaps in the upcoming game against the San Diego Chargers and their prolific thrower, Phillip Rivers.
In four seasons with Atlanta, Owens has played in 48 games, starting 11 of them, and has 10 passes defensed with three interceptions. Owens was taken in the third round (90th overall) of the 2009 NFL draft by the Falcons out of San Jose State.