Would Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes have played if not for concussion protocol?
The Chiefs are hoping Patrick Mahomes will be able to play in the AFC Championship Game. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Would Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes have played if not for concussion protocol?

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes suffered a head injury and was left wobbly following a collision in the third quarter of Sunday's playoff win over the Cleveland Browns. 

Kansas City head coach Andy Reid told reporters on Monday that Mahomes remained in the concussion protocol but added that the 25-year-old could've returned to Sunday's game if not for the league's strict rules about dealing with head injuries. 

"There was a chance back in the day that Patrick comes back in [the game],'' Reid explained, per Adam Teicher of ESPN. "You saw him run up the tunnel. By the time he got to that point he was feeling pretty good. But there's a certain protocol you have to follow, and that takes it out of the trainer's hand and the player's hand and the doctor's hand." 

The days of players having figurative bells rung only to quickly return to the field are long gone, and an independent neurological consultant will have to clear Mahomes to resume football activities ahead of Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. His status throughout the week will undoubtedly lead to conversations among fans and analysts about the league's health and safety protocols, as it's widely expected that he'll be in the lineup with a Super Bowl berth on the line against Buffalo. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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