Tampa Bay receiver Russell Gage was stretchered off the field during their wild card playoff defeat to Dallas Cowboys following an awkward blow to the head.
The incident occurred with just under three minutes left in the final quarter after an incomplete pass on second-and-10. Gage stumbled during the passage of play as he attempted to catch the pass, only for Donovan Wilson to plough full force into his head and neck on his way down.
As silence fell across the stadium in Flordia, the 26-year-old was seen attempting to get back to his feet but was unable to, prompting the medical team to rush on field and tend to his injuries.
His fellow teammates, and most notably Tom Brady, can be seen in the clip below visibly shocked at seeing Gage attempt to get back to his feet.
— NFL Unlimited (@NFLUnlimited) January 17, 2023
“They took him to the hospital right now, he has a concussion. They’ll also test him for potential neck injuries,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles confirmed in the press conference following the 31-14 defeat to the Cowboys.
He also went on to address whether there was movement in his extremities, to which he said, “his fingers were moving when he was down there. I don’t know about the rest.”
Just as Bills safety Damar Hamlin recovers from his frightening cardiac arrest at the beginning of January, fans of the NFL were fearing the worst as players and staff huddled around Gage to take the knee, just as they did little over a fortnight ago. After being resuscitated on the field, Hamlin was later discharged from a Buffalo hospital last week.
“It was really tough – especially with what happened a couple weeks ago,” Tampa linebacker Lavonte David said.
“Russ is a great dude off the field and a great guy on the field. We definitely hope he’s well. He was moving and stuff like that; that was a good sign. Definitely hope he’s okay.”
45-year-old Tom Brady fell to defeat against the Cowboys for the first time in his career after eight meetings as Dak Prescott led spirited Dallas side to a convincing win in Tampa. They now face another trip on the road in the Divisional Round as they travel to California on Sunday to face the 49ers (14-4).