After Another Concussion For Javon Hargrave, Steelers Should Sit Him Through Preseason

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers managed to leave the stadium today with a victory, it is quite easy to find the rain clouds brewing in the sky. The first-team defense struggled quite a bit, and the offense hardly did anything in the first half before the deep reserves picked things up.

But the clear worst aspect of the entire game was second-year defensive tackle Javon Hargrave suffering a concussion on the first drive of the game and being forced to miss the rest of the contest. Head Coach Mike Tomlin after the game confirmed that he is now in the protocol.

What is most concerning about this development is the fact that this is not the first concussion that he has suffered in his young career. In fact, it is perhaps at least his third documented concussion, and at the very least the third time as a professional that he has been evaluated for one.

During the Steelers’ Week 13 victory over the Giants, Hargrave left that game with a concussion after recording two tackles in the first half. That incident forced him to miss the game in Buffalo the following week, though he returned and played the rest of the season.

The former third-round draft pick also had to leave Pittsburgh’s regular season finale against the Browns after it was suspected that he suffered a concussion. It was not even a month after his first incident, but he was able to return the following week for the Steelers’ postseason run.

Following today’s suspected concussion, he now has three head injuries on his professional injury list, which is a concern, especially the more that we learn about the relationship between concussions and cognitive health, particularly late in life.

More immediately, it would be very surprising if he plays in the final two preseason games, not the least of which reason being that both of them are coming shortly. The Steelers’ third preseason game—the most important one for the starters—is coming up on Saturday. Their final game will be held next Thursday.

Even if he is cleared relatively quickly, in my opinion, it would still be advisable to hold him out and limit his exposure to the repetitive head trauma of even rote contact between offensive and defensive linemen in practice.

Should he not see the field for the rest of the preseason, his next appearance in a game will not come until September 10, a full three weeks from today. Sure, as a young player, he may need the reps, but I don’t think there is such a thing as being too cautious with concussions.

Hopefully Hargrave is able to clear the concussion protocol relatively quickly, but even so, I would still hold him out for the rest of the preseason. There is minimal benefit in risking playing him as soon as Saturday, and he probably wouldn’t play much at all in the final game anyway.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Dorian James

    I’m in total agreement with you Matt.
    This might be a silly question but I’m going to ask it anyway. Do you think the Steelers should worry about him retiring early and possibly look to draft another d-tackle soon?

  • The Chin


  • Phil Brenneman II

    Spot on Matthew. Grave Digger don’t need the reps anyway.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Second year player still learning doesn’t need the reps?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Nah, Hargrave is already in beast mode.

  • Matt Manzo

    I think it’s worth considering!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Well, I wouldn’t want to jump the gun on anything, but I do think a general level of concern should certainly been warranted. I personally take concussions very seriously, I know not everyone here does, but yeah, who knows what he might be thinking. Players who have no documented concussions have retired early citing concussion concerns, so you never know.

  • Matthew Marczi

    At the very least, I can’t imagine whatever he would do in practice over the next two weeks would be more beneficial than getting the rest.

  • Michael Conrad

    I think they may want to take a look at his helmet and maybe enhance it for him. Something is not right or he is leading with his head or diving into plays. He needs to adjust . He was dinged up a couple times in one game. Then he was not on the field on third down so his snap count was not that high. Three or four in the snaps he has had is not good.

  • joewalsh

    He needs that new anti concussion helmet that is out this season

  • Douglas Andrews

    Agreed i’d sit him he’s your game day starter already. Nothing to gain by him playing in the preseason.

  • LucasY59

    the 1st thing I thought of when I heard he was out with a concussion was that he has already had a few in about a yrs time, so that makes it much more concerning IMO, because of protocol he might not get into the game on next saturday anyway and the final ps game they dont really need him to play and McCullers might be getting quite a bit of playing time in one last chance to make the roster, so between him, Walton and the 4th string guys they should have enough bodies that sitting out the remainder of the preseason is a good idea

  • LucasY59

    I think it is a small concern, but I think they Draft one next yr regardless, will need a depth guy behind Hargrave since there is pretty much ZERO chance McCullers gets re-signed (…not even a good chance he makes the 53 this yr)

    Walton can play NT if needed, but is also DE depth, so IMO they should be targeting a more traditional space eating NT anytime in the 5th rd or later,

    as far as a true replacenment for GraveWobble I wouldnt do that until he is actually gone (and that might take a 2nd-3rd rd pick to get a guy that has some pass rush skill as well)

  • LucasY59

    the biggest concern is the amount and the time frame they have happened, its not that I dont take concussions seriously, but usually dont start worrying until it seems to be a recurrent issue (and 3 possible in less than a yr is definitely enough to have me a little worried)

  • Zarbor

    Three in less than a year is alarming. I would be very concerned especially the position he plays.

  • Dorian James

    I’m really hoping he’s okay, I’m a big, big fan of his. He seems to be a good humble guy as well as being a great player

  • Terrible Towlie

    whatever happened to the helmets with an extra outer shell….like helmet head Kelso used to wear for the Bills…. i think Tasker wore one too

  • Terrible Towlie

    I’ve heard of helmets with like memory foam or something similar worn by a few high school teams…i think espn did a story on them

  • RickM

    Very troublesome. You can’t view it any other way this early in his career.

  • Bobby hains

    Same exact thought what a bummer it looks like we will look in the early rounds of the draft next year an find another nose t. What a shame cuz he has a bright future too!!