Darren McFadden: If Players Can Hide Concussions, They Probably Do

Russell Westbrook laughs between teammates Paul George, left, and Steven Adams while waiting to take a photo during media day for the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Darren McFadden has been out the past few weeks, but it hasn’t had anything to do with a concussion. It’s been an ankle injury for him, but that didn’t stop him from giving an interesting answer to a question on concussions. Questioned about whether guys hide concussions, given the fact that Alex Smith just basically lost his job because of one, McFadden said players hide them if they can. Darren McFadden joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with The Wheelhouse to discuss coming back from his ankle injury, his frustration by being plague with injury, watching his backup Marcel Reece play well, the Oakland Raiders’ offense getting going slowly and players hiding concussions.

How are you feeling coming off the injury?

“I’ve been feeling pretty good. It’s just one of those things you just have to keep working into it. Coming back from an ankle injury is a tricky thing, so, like I said, you just want to keep working into it and just feeling it out every day.”

What have you been up to in the downtime?

“Just trying to stay on top of my game mentally, just being in the meetings, being there, making sure I know everything. If one of the other guys has a question, just try to help them out with it. Just being there and being sharp mentally.”

You’ve been riddled by injuries over the past couple years. How frustrating is that?

“It’s very frustrating for me. Like you said, I know when I’m on the field, I know what I can do out there. So it’s something that, with everything else people say on the outside, I just try to block it out and put it in the back of my head. People say you’re injury-prone, I know I probably have that tag on me now, but, you know, once I’m out there playing ball, once I have the ball in my hand, I’m going hard. I’m not just on the sideline, away from the ball, getting hurt.”

What’s it like watching the team on TV when you don’t travel with them, particularly with your backup, Marcel Reece, playing pretty well?

“Just being able to see Marcel out there running the ball like he’s been doing, we’re very close friends — we came in together — so we’re just always happy to see each other be successful out there. He’s been stepping up and doing a great job out there, and I love that.”

Your yards-per-carry numbers had dipped from 5.2 to 3.3 before the injury. Why was that?

“I think it’s just getting off to a slow start. Everybody was feeling out the new offense and just trying to get into it. I feel like lately we’ve been getting it going. It hasn’t been as big of numbers as people would like to see … but you could see in the Kansas City game. … and I feel like I had a good start in the Tampa game. … So it’s just one of those things you just have to feel the offense out and I think everybody’s getting used to it.”

Do you think you’ll play Sunday and will the rainy weather play a factor in that decision?:

“No,  right now me and the trainers are just going day-by-day … and we’ll just see how I progress as the week goes on.”

If you do come back, do you think you just dive right in or ease your way back to your full role?:

“If I come back, I’m ready for a full load. There’s no easing back into it or anything. That’s what practice is for, to try to ease into it. Once the game time comes, it’s full go if I’m able to go.”

We’ve seen Alex Smith lose his job after a concussion. With concussions, do you think players may try to hide them?:

“I guess with concussions, most guys look at it, if you can hide it, they probably do, but if sometimes it’s those deals where you can’t hide it at all, you have no choice but to tell somebody. I think it’s one of those things that if you can deal with it, a lot of guys will probably do that.”

Robert Griffin III: “Whoever drafts me I am proud to be a part of that team and can’t wait to get to work for them.”

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