Alston’s `red flag’ came too late


Linebacker Jon Alston is out with “residual” effects of a concussion, and the most important question is exactly how many times he was hurt and if he was permitted to play too long.

Alston showed up Saturday morning feeling dizzy and was throwing up. If coach Tom Cable seemed unsure of exactly when Alston was hurt, it’s because Alston had at least two and possibly three concussions of various degrees. Cable targeted it as the “first or second week” of November.

“For him to show up Saturday and be ill like he was and describe to us how he was feeling, that’s a red flag,” Cable said. “So you have to be wise and figure out what’s going on.”

Alston was listed on the injury report for the first time with a concussion on Oct. 11, following the New York Giants game. A concussion was mentioned again after the Nov. 1 game against the San Diego Chargers.

Following the bye week, against the Chiefs on Nov. 15, Alston, while making a special teams play, arose and appeared disoriented. He eventually made his way to the bench, sat for a series or two staring straight down with his head between his legs, and eventually made his way back into the game.

After the first two concussions, Alston was cleared on “baseline tests” and allowed to play. There was never any listing of an injury following the Chiefs game.

It’s an issue for medical personnel, but in casual observation, Alston, a bright an interesting guy to talk to since he got here, hasn’t been himself of late. I know, the NFL is a tough business and lots of players don’t always have good days. But from a distance, the repeated exposure looked a little unnecessary.

Alston’s story will be minimized because he’s not a quarterback, like Ben Roethlisberger or Kurt Warner, who both had concussion issues over the weekend. But here’s a guy who took two and probably three blows to the head that affected him over a six-week period and kept on playing. And this is an NFL issue, not a Raiders issue.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and the player’s union can’t resolve this soon enough. The Raiders may have done everything right regarding Alston, but it still looks bad. NFL players need to be protected from themselves, and it’s up to Goodell and the player’s union to make sure that happens.

The NFL Network reported Goodell sent out a memo to all 32 teams advising them of the resignations of two concussion committee co-chairs.

An impartial expert on head injuries will err on the side of caution. A team doctor might well do the same thing, but should never be in the decision to make that call.

More news, notes and quotes to come . . .


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • raiderhaterhater


  • raiderhaterhater

    This kinda sucks being first..I was hoping to read all the garbage that maddenraider puts up here and how everyone blasts his ass…

  • raiderhaterhater

    Gradkowski is the best QB weve had since Gannon..Noone gave him a legitimate chance to be a starter til Gruden. He was the poster child qb to come off the bench but never a starter..Maybe Im smoking crack and grads just looks this good because JR looks so bad but i think if given the same time as JR has been given he might turn out to be something special. Face it, crazier things have happened.

  • Bossinthe831

    He’s a very intelligent guy, sad to imagine that this could effect the rest of his life…

  • 01rdrfan

    Man, I hope that he will be okay! Like Bossinthe831 said, I hope this doesn’t affect him long term. There’s alot more to life than football. Didn’t he go to Stanford?? He has to be a smart guy!!

  • Decrepit Organization, Top to Bottom.

  • raidertbone

    I hope they do the right thing and go ahead and shut him down for the year. I’d rather have him get healthy and be ready for ’10 than risk a more serious injury — perhaps something catastrophic.

  • hwnrdr

    That is pretty bad having him play through a concussion. I mean, come on now…no one knew?

  • RaidingTexas

    Damn, Jon Alston is one of the good guys on the team. Hate to see this happen to him.

  • centurionWR87

    We can beat Dallas.

  • Kirk

    Time to retire, Jon. Don’t take a chance on something like this. You might end up talking like Terry Bradshaw.

  • Larz

    My memory has him getting his bell rung way back in pre-season or was it training camp.

  • radrntn

    concussions and swine flu symptons sound the same