Some of you might have forgotten about Jalen Hurts’ “flu game” from earlier this season. There was a bit of controversy with that Week 2 Monday Night Football game, because that news was not on the Philadelphia Eagles’ injury report. Instead, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it at halftime. Sunday brought us a repeat in which Bijan Robinson was ill on Sunday and the Atlanta Falcons did not make that information public when they put out their inactives list.
A major difference in these situations is that Hurts took every single snap during the Eagles’ 25-11 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Robinson only played six snaps in the first half against the Falcons’ Week 7, 16-13, win against the Bucs, and his sole carry came in the fourth quarter. He said after the game that he was dealing with a headache, and that it began on Saturday night.
The first question asked of Falcons head coach Arthur Smith during his postgame press conference was about Robinson’s health. He claimed that they noticed that Robinson was feeling off just prior to the start of the game.
“As we got through warmups and early on, just wasn’t feeling like himself,” Smith said to the media following the Falcons’ 16-13 win against theBuccaneers. “So he played, but we weren’t gonna overdo it. Just being cautious…when you have other guys that can go, you know, we’re a team.”
Smith’s explanation certainly will not satisfy Falcons fans, fantasy football players with Robinson on their roster, or bettors with real live money staked on Robinson and the Falcons’ performance. Those groups have no authority over the Falcons, unlike the NFL league office, which is well aware of just how much gambling and fantasy sports means to the league’s popularity. PFT’s Mike Florio was informed following the Eagles’ Week 2 win, that “unless players missed practice or would be limited in any way,” they do not have to be included on the injury report.
Technically, Hurts was not limited in Week 2. He may have been playing through discomfort, but nothing that kept him off of the field at any point. The Falcons though, they may have some questions to answer.
Robinson went through warmups and spent the entire game in full uniform, yet he was used sparingly. That seems to be the very definition of limited. In a world in which gambling is now largely legal, and Jimmy “The Greek” was on NFL broadcasts decades ago while also writing sports betting columns, teams must always be transparent about player availability.
The reason that teams are required to make that information is to avoid even a whisper in the distance about an integrity of the game issue. The spread on Sunday’s game was -3.5 Buccaneers. Disclosing that Robinson was ill would likely have resulted in a rush of late wagers. With that information being withheld from the public, a legitimate question is, why?
Robinson and Smith answered why the running back was limited on Sunday, but not until after the game. Robinson said that he was ill entering Raymond James Stadium. There was plenty of time for that information to come out with the Falcons’ inactive list. All they had to say was Robinson was not feeling well, and that they would decide after warmups how much he would play.
Instead all of social media was buzzing about Robinson not getting the ball. The league absolutely needs to investigate why his condition was not reported sooner, at minimum for appearances sake.
Original source here
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