Kansas City Chiefs rookie tight end Tony Moeaki was missing from practice Wednesday with a head injury. While the team isn’t commenting on exactly what the injury is or what the cause was, it clearly happened on the Chiefs onside kick attempt late in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos and has been reported as a concussion.
When it happened, like Todd Haley (and apparently the officials), I was watching the ball to see if the Chiefs could recover the kick. At the top of the screen I noticed a player fall to the ground and saw a very weak kneed Moeaki being attended to while players on both teams continued to fight for the football.
After Moeaki missed practice, I went back to watch the play again and saw a hit that is exactly what the league is supposedly trying to prevent. Broncos LB Joe Mays can be seen going full speed at Moeaki and clearly lead with his helmet while laying out the tight end.
This is a hit that if it were delivered to Moeaki in coverage, Mays would have absolutely drawn a penalty and there would be no question about a fine and potentially a suspension.
I want to make it clear that Mays shouldn’t be punished because Moeaki has a concussion. It’s important that the league doesn’t hand out fines and suspensions because a player gets hurt, but rather simply due to a hit being illegal. The NFL got it right when Colts WR Austin Collie was knocked out by Eagles DB Kurt Coleman and even though the game officials incorrectly threw a flag, they didn’t hand down any punishment.
Here’s to hoping the league once again gets it right by making up for a mistake by the officials.