WASHINGTON — Players in the NFL’s concussion protocol do not address the media, but Niles Paul was so overcome with emotion after Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys that he brought his message directly to the fans.
Via his Twitter account, he offered a response to critics who said that Redskins might fold after falling to 3-4 overall and 0-3 in the NFC East.
“I play with my heart. Every time I take that field, I’m a warrior going to battle. I’ll do anything for my team, my brothers,” he wrote. “Them boys know I’d run through a brick wall for them. Sean Lee just happened to be that brick wall today. I did my job though.”
Paul was in the game on a goal-line plunge by running back Rob Kelley in the first half. Accustomed to his role as a battering ram, he met defender Sean Lee at an awkward angle, dropping him to the turf as his teammates finished the score:
Coming off the field, Paul refused to be supported by team trainers, instead choosing to walk on his own:
Paul is one of the longest-tenured Redskins and a key part of all special teams units as well as the offense. His absence was noticed as the Redskins struggled to move the football and made a series of mistakes on special teams.
After the game, Gruden talked about losing both Paul and fellow tight end Jordan Reed, severely handicapping the offense.
“It’s a challenge [having so many injuries], plus your [play]list has shrunk by about one quarter because we had a lot of two-tight end, three-tight end sets ready for this game. We lost both of those pretty early, at least with Niles in the first half.
“We were limited to one [personnel] group and then we had to add some more groups in case something happened to Vernon [Davis]. We had to talk about our four-receiver sets and our three-receiver sets with two [running] backs. We had to coach those up in a hurry in the locker room.”
Moving ahead with a tough schedule, Paul did not back down from his expectations for himself or his teammates.
“Felt like I was being tried for a sec. I’m straight, though, and we going to get this s*** right,” he wrote. “We got a squad full of warriors.”