June 22, 2024

HENDERSON, Nev. — Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after taking several hits in Sunday night’s 23-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, putting his availability for this week’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers in question.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said Monday he was not sure when Garoppolo suffered the concussion and had yet to talk to the quarterback. And while Garoppolo never left the game because of a head injury, he did take a hit to the helmet from Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick that ended with Garoppolo’s head bouncing off the grass with less than seven minutes to play.

Garoppolo, though, threw a touchdown pass to Davante Adams two snaps later and then converted a 2-point conversion pass and never left the game or was examined for a concussion during it.

“I’m not even sure what hit or if it was just an accumulation of [hits], I have no idea,” McDaniels said. “There was never a conversation about that, so I’m not sure, exactly, and I haven’t seen him yet this morning, so I’m not exactly sure when it took place, or if it was just a culmination of things.”

Garoppolo took several hits and was sacked four times as he completed 28 of 44 pass attempts for 324 yards and two TDs with three interceptions. He leads the NFL with six INTs.

Garoppolo was scheduled to speak at the podium following the game before it was announced he would not attend, as he was being evaluated for a concussion after he had been in the locker room.

If Garoppolo, who was signed to a three-year, $72.75 million free agent contract this offseason by Las Vegas to replace nine-year starter Derek Carr, cannot play at the Chargers, the Raiders will have to start either 15th-year veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell, who has yet to be active for a regular-season game.

“We’ll prepare for everybody,” McDaniels said. “Obviously, that would change things relative to Aidan, also, if Jimmy was not able to progress through the protocol to be able to play. So, we’ll have to manage that situation best we can as it progresses through the week.”

Asked if there might be more value in playing a rookie for the big picture than a veteran if Garoppolo could not go, McDaniels shrugged.

“We’ll try to do the right thing for the team this week, for sure,” McDaniels said. “No matter what it is, whatever that ultimately ends up being. We’re not going to use this like it would be a preseason game, you know what I mean? So, if the best thing for the team would be to do something down that road, then we would discuss that and consider it. But we haven’t begun those conversations yet. We will, obviously, today.”

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