Injury to Black scary for all involved
Concern for teammate Quincy Black quickly turned to relief for the Buccaneers, but not without a few moments of trepidation. Black lay motionless on the field after lowering his helmet and making direct contact with the helmet of San Diego running back Ryan Mathews late in the third quarter of Tampa Bay's 34-24 victory against the Chargers.
The violent collision, which elicited a reaction from the crowd, dropped Mathews for a 1-yard loss but left Black on the ground for several minutes as medical staff attended to the sixth-year linebacker from New Mexico.
"It's bigger than football,'' Bucs linebacker Mason Foster said.
Black was taken to the hospital for observation, but coach Greg Schiano said he expected Black to be fine. "I was really impressed with the medical people, how they handled the whole situation," Schiano said. "I think Quincy is going to be okay."
The situation hit home for Mathews a few moments after the play as he noticed Black was still on the ground and not moving. "We're competing and everything, (but) you don't want to see anything happen like that," Mathews said. "We are all professionals and we are all trying to make a living off of this and to see someone go down like that, it (stinks). I'll say all my prayers and everything to go out to him and his family.''
Black was carefully placed onto a back board and carted off the field. It was clear, however, the situation was not as dire as it first looked. Before he was taken off, Black assured teammates he was going to be fine and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd on the way out.
"You never want to see that, and when you see a guy laying there and they have to run out and get him, your heart just kind of drops,'' defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "But as he was laying there, he said, "Guys, I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm all right.' So, that kind of comforted us a little bit. But with him still laying there and having to cart him off, it still doesn't feel good.''
No matter how many times those situations arise during the course of every NFL season, it hits at the heart of fearing the worst while hoping for the best.
"I've been around him for six years, and he and I are the only two left from our draft class. So, it hurt to watch that,'' said linebacker Adam Hayward, a sixth-round pick in 2007. "But when I saw him moving it was good. I was happy and I knew that he was going to be all right and God was with him.''
For Greg Schiano, who witnessed Eric LeGrand suffer paralysis during a helmet-to-helmet play while he was the head coach at Rutgers in 2010, seeing Black on the ground for several minutes was an uncomfortable situation. "When a guy goes down and he's still…," Schiano said. "The good thing was Quincy immediately moved his right arm, so that was a relief."