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October 14, 2015

Former Temple star Bernard Pierce in concussion protocol after blocking for other team

Bernard Pierce is both a former standout running back at Temple and Delaware Valley native (Ardmore) now plying his trade professionally for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Back on Sunday, Pierce was involved in a puzzling play while on the Jags’ special teams.

During a 38-31 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pierce was on the Jaguars punt team. The 25-year-old was running toward Bucs returner Bobby Rainey, presumably to make the tackle… until he wasn’t. Pierce mystifyingly turned around in the middle of the play and started blocking a Bucs player while Rainey scooted right by him for a long return:

This is bad news. It’s very unlikely for a player to make such a mental error without some sort of brain injury. And Pierce actually thought the Jaguars were returning the punt here. Via Big Cat Country, this is what Jaguars coach Gus Bradley had to say about the play a few days later:

"It is. It’s not a good play at all. When I saw it I couldn’t believe it, but I know he’s in the concussion protocol. I know after the game he had concussion symptoms. That’s where I’ll leave it at that, the play itself if you watched it.

Bradley was then asked if Pierce had suffered a concussion before the above play.

"I don’t know. I imagine so."

Did that concussion contribute to the play?

"Yeah, I’m sure, I mean he’s in the concussion protocol. It’s just unfortunate that he had those symptoms and that play happened."

Let’s hope Pierce is OK. Scary stuff, indeed.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann