By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, December 21st, 2009 at 1:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Tight end Zach Miller is awaiting results of tests designed to determine if he is sufficiently recovered from a concussion to play this week.
“I took it today, I don’t know, I haven’t got the results yet, hopefully it went good today,” Miller said Monday.
Miller said the test is taken on a computer, quizzing him on memory, identifying shapes, and compared against a baseline test taken before the season started. Based on how he feels, Miller likes his chances of playing this week.
“The way the symptoms have been kind of going away, I expect in the next few days here I should be feeling pretty good and get back out there at practice,” Miller said.
Miller said even if he had passed the test last week, he still couldn’t have played because he wasn’t free of symptoms.
He conceded his attitude toward his rehab is different than it would have been a few years ago if faced with the same issue while at Arizona State.
“I probably would have said what I needed to get on the field. I’ve done that before,” Miller said. “I ‘m trying to be smart. I expect to have a long career, so I want to make sure that I don’t do something to myself that’s stupid and affects me later.”
However, Miller said he hasn’t given any thought to shutting it down for the rest of the season to make sure there isn’t a third concussion this year.
“ I feel like once the symptoms are gone and all that, there’s no reason not to play and I want to get back on the field,” Miller said. “It sucks not playing.”
Miller had started and played in 45 consecutive games, leading the Raiders with 150 receptions, since being drafted in the second round in 2007.
“It’s frustrating because you want to be out there and you want to impact the game, so you just kind of sit and watch,” Miller said. “It was exciting the way we won, and getting to watch, and all that, but I was dying to be out there.”
Miller felt good for quarterback JaMarcus Russell, the quarterback who was part of his draft class and with whom he had developed a chemistry with on the field.
“It was huge, and I was so happy for him,” Miller said. “He did what needed to be done at the end of the game and that’s huge for a quarterback, to be able to win the game, down six, score the winning touchdown with only 30 seconds left, and the way he did it, some adversity, fighting through it, so it’s really a credit to him.”
More news and notes from a few players who trickled in for treatment or to work out on an extra day off:
– Tight end Tony Stewart, accompanied by his two young sons, hasn’t stopped smiling since kickoff Sunday.
“The whole game, from the beginning to the end, I was just standing there smiling,” Stewart said. “Guys would look at me and be like, ‘What are you smiling about? What’s so funny?’
“I’m like, ‘I’m just happy to be playing. God gave me a great opportunity. Unfortunately Zach went down with his injury, his concussions, and I hope he gets better soon, and I know he’s getting better, but it was really fun to be out there and contribute the way I did.”
Stewart caught three passes for 27 yards, including a 10-yard catch on fourth-and-10 from Russell on the game-winning drive. Primarily an extra tight end and special teams player, Stewart last caught more than three passes in a game on Oct. 5, 2003, when he caught five passes against Buffalo while on the Cincinnati Bengals.
With Charlie Frye out, Russell getting the wind knocked out of him and J.P. Losman in for a snap, Stewart began to wonder how it would all end.
“It reminded me also of the body bag game of the Redskins and Eagles back in the day when Brian Mitchell had to come in and play quarterback for the Redskins,” Stewart said. “The Eagles defense had put out three of the quarterbacks. We almost had to put Shane Lechler in there. He still thinks he’s a quarterback.”
– Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said his sprained foot is making progress but gave no indication when he might return.
“Same old, same old, day by day, week by week,” Heyward-Bey said. “Don’t want to rush anything but also want to get back out there, you know? Want to help out my teammates.”
More to come following coach Tom Cable’s weekly press conference . . .