GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay running back Jamaal Williams left the field on a stretcher after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Philadelphia defensive end Derek Barnett on the first offensive play of the game for the Packers on Thursday night.
Williams caught a short pass from Aaron Rodgers before being stood up by a swarm of Eagles defenders, and Barnett barreled in at the end. After his helmet banged against Williams’ helmet, Barnett was penalized for unnecessary roughness. Williams lay motionless on the field for several minutes while being tended to by a host of medical personnel. He raised his arm to flash the thumbs-up signal as he was being rolled away, and Barnett was the first player to approach him with a pat of encouragement.
The Packers went on to score on a short touchdown run by Aaron Jones, who was the only healthy tailback left after Williams’ departure.
Williams had feeling and movement in all of his extremities, the Packers announced, but he out for the remainder of the game while being evaluated for head and neck injuries.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody, because this is our livelihood,” Barnett said. “I don’t wish that part on nobody. I heard he’s doing all right and he’s good. I told him my apologies afterwards, and he knows this is a violent sport.”
The Eagles had their own player taken off the field on a stretcher, when cornerback Avonte Maddox was knocked out in a collision with teammate Andrew Sendejo in the fourth quarter. Maddox, who was actually called for pass interference on the play, was also doing all right afterward. Coach Doug Pederson said he had movement in all of his extremities and was coherent when being taken off the field.
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