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Willie Parker: ‘If you get a concussion, why would you tell?’

Add former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker to the list of players who admit they would hide concussion symptoms if it meant getting back into a game. The NFL has recently made a serious push to improve their methods for identifying players who are concussed during games and holding them out of action for as long as needed. People like Parker remind us of why the league is doing it.

Parker spoke with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently and was asked if he believes players will change their mentality of wanting to play through concussions.

“Not if you have any fight in you,” Parker said. “You have to have fight in you, hunger in you and that dog in you. If you get a concussion, why would you tell? Why would you say something?”

The reason, he says, is that players put their teammates ahead of themselves.

“For me, it was the team first,” Parker said. “That’s how I looked at it. You don’t want to let your brother next to you down.”

Steelers running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Rainey basically said the same thing as Parker, noting that if they can stand up they are going to shake it off and try to get back onto the field. Some of the NFL’s biggest superstars have said that playing through concussions are part of the game and Troy Polamalu even admitted he has lied about his symptoms in order to keep playing.

The NFL wants to change the mentality of guys like Parker and Polamalu, but it doesn’t seem like they are having much luck. All they can do is attempt to improve their methods for identifying the symptoms.

Helmet knock to Pro Football Talk

Willie Parker: Redskins Are about Partying

Willie Parker’s dropoff in production and relevance has been swift. He was once considered to be one of the fastest running backs in football, and his greatest accomplishment was running for a 75-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks. Injuries and the strain of hundreds of carries sapped Parker’s speed, and the Steelers got rid of him.

Parker signed with the Washington Redskins last season and ended up being released before the season began after he suffered a groin injury. You can’t really fault the Redskins for cutting a running back who was old and banged up, but it left a bitter feeling with Parker. In fact, Parker shared some of his feelings during an interview on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh.

“Being in Washington, they don’t care about football. I didn’t feel good from day one there,” Parker said. “They weren’t about football. They were about partying. You appreciate Pittsburgh a little bit more after going somewhere else and seeing what another team has to offer.”

Parker also took a shot at owner Daniel Snyder when comparing him to the Steelers’ owners, but that’s about as unfair of a fight in the octagon between Big Bird and Elmo. It’s no surprise to hear Parker make those comments. The Steelers have had a reputation of being a classy, no-nonsense organization. Daniel Snyder gets routinely turned down by big-name coaches and offers embarrassing insults towards others.

I can’t speak about the issue of partying, but I do know the Steelers are said to have a pretty straight-edge reputation. Well, except for their quarterback and wide receiver who seem to have been distracted the past year.

You can listen to the entire interview here