Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday morning that center Mitch Morse was in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Morse had missed practice on Sunday for what was called a veteran rest day but fan concerns rose when he didn’t practice Tuesday after an off day Monday.
McDermott said the concussion was diagnosed on Tuesday. Concussion symptoms can develop after the fact and, especially if it wasn’t one big hit, Morse would have had to self-report the symptoms which all could explain the lag between hit and announcement.
Morse has a history of concussions while with the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2015 he missed one regular season game due to a concussion and the entirety of the Chiefs’ playoff run due to a second. In 2018, he missed five games recovering from a concussion.
“Individuals that have had three or more concussions are three times more likely to sustain a future concussion and, as a result, have slower healing times,” noted Kyle Trimble in March following Morse’s signing. “This was clearly evident with Morse taking five weeks to return from his concussion midway through the season in 2018 compared to concussions in 2015.”
If Morse is in the concussion protocol now, his timetable for return could stretch out for most of the preseason if not further.
Morse was still in the process of developing chemistry with quarterback Josh Allen after Morse missed most of the offseason following core muscle surgery. This will further set the duo back in their process together.
The Bills have been building depth at the position this offseason. They kept Russell Bodine, who has 74 career NFL starts at center, added Spencer Long with 44 career starts (most at center), and have been cross-training guard Jon Feliciano at center. None of them are as good as Morse when he’s healthy, clearly, but they are capable at the position.