Team Says Rookie LB Suffered Only Concussion, Holding Breath On Cromartie

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Jets rookie linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has a concussion — but no neck injury, as initially feared — and was hospitalized overnight for observation after being carted off the field in the team’s season-opening win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Jets announced Sunday night that Mauldin was awake and aware, and had feeling in all of his extremities. The team said tests at the hospital had been completed and confirmed that the neck of the third-round pick out of Louisville was OK.

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In a scary scene at MetLife Stadium, Mauldin was injured in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 31-10 victory when Johnny Manziel was sacked by Muhammad Wilkerson. Mauldin, who was originally credited with the sack, appeared to punch the ball out of the quarterback’s hands and cause a fumble that Darrelle Revis recovered deep in Browns territory.

Manziel appeared to roll onto Mauldin, who stayed down for several moments right after the play. The linebacker eventually stood, but then immediately dropped to the turf, where he stayed face-down as trainers and medical staff rushed over to him.

“When I was running out on the field, I could see he was getting up but then I just saw him get weak and he fell again,” running back Chris Ivory said. “After that, it just looked like his eyes rolled into the back of his head.”

As several Jets players stood and watched, some on a knee with their helmets in hand, Mauldin’s facemask was removed and he was strapped to a board before being lifted onto a cart as MetLife Stadium fell completely silent.

“He had very little (movement) from what I saw,” coach Todd Bowles said.

Several Browns players also came over to Mauldin as he was being examined on the field.

Mauldin made headlines in the offseason when he cried during his conference call shortly after he was drafted by the Jets. He had a tumultuous childhood in which both of his parents served jail time, and he was in and out of about 12 or 13 foster homes in the Atlanta area.

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“I’m here to say that I’m not a statistic,” Mauldin said during the offseason, “and I’m going to overcome it.”

Manziel was in the game because Browns starting quarterback Josh McCown left with a concussion after taking a hard hit late in the first quarter.

McCown was hurt when he was hit by Calvin Pryor and Demario Davis while coming up just short of the goal line on third-and-goal from the Jets 14. McCown dived for the goal line, but was hit hard simultaneously by Davis and Pryor, and the ball came loose and went out of the end zone for a touchback.

Browns coach Mike Pettine said McCown would go through the NFL’s concussion protocol before being cleared to practice and play.

Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie left in the second quarter with a left knee injury and will have an MRI exam Monday to determine the nature and severity.

Cromartie’s knee buckled on a non-contact play and he needed help to the sideline as he didn’t put any weight on his left leg. Cromartie was later carted to the locker room and ruled out for the rest of the game. He was replaced by Buster Skrine.

Browns linebacker Scott Solomon injured an ankle early in the opening quarter and was carted off the field, and did not return.

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