KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt Cassel is getting another start at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brady Quinn still has not been cleared to participate in a game following his concussion, so Cassel will be back under center when the Chiefs play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
"Brady does feel better. I'm glad he's feeling better. But he hasn't been cleared to play yet," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said during what's become a weekly Wednesday ritual of addressing the QB spot. "I can't take the chance on practicing the guy and not having him ready."
Cassel will start his third consecutive game. He was the starter earlier this year before sustaining his own concussion against Baltimore. Quinn was the fill-in starter for a game, and then got the permanent job, only to be knocked out of his second start against Oakland.
Quinn has been practicing, but Crennel said he's not been cleared for full contact.
"He's feeling a lot better, doing a lot better," Crennel said. "He went to the doctor and he told him he's doing a lot better. The doctor also told him he was going to monitor him this week, and if he makes it through this week without incident, he could be cleared for the weekend. But he's got to make it through the week."
Quinn admitted last week that he tried to play through the latest concussion, which he believes happened when an Oakland defender's knee collided with the back of his helmet while he was scrambling early in the game. Quinn was later sacked, and then threw an interception during which he recalled having "tunnel vision," before he was removed from the game.
Quinn has been consulting with Dr. Micky Collins, the executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program in Pittsburgh, one of the leading experts in the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of athletes who have suffered concussions.
Collins helped design the ImPACT test now used by many professional sports leagues, including the NFL, to assess concussions and determine when an injured athlete can safely return to play.
Crennel said that the Chiefs training staff has been relaying information to Collins, and together they'll make a determination by Sunday whether Quinn is available.
"If there are any complications, they will not clear him," Crennel said.
The alternative is to stick with Cassel, who is having one of the worst seasons of his career.
He's completing 58 percent of his throws with a quarterback rating of 66.6, and has only thrown six touchdown passes with 12 interceptions. The most recent pick, early in overtime Monday night, gave the Steelers a chip-shot field goal to win the game.
It was the Chiefs' sixth straight defeat.
"Without a doubt, you look at where we are, we're 1-8, and that's always difficult, because you have to remind yourself we have more football to play," Cassel said. "Sometimes that becomes difficult, but at the same time, I have the mentality that we can be better."
In other injury news, Crennel said that wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin is being examined for head and neck injuries sustained when he landed on his head while trying to make a catch.
Crennel said Baldwin, the Chiefs' first-round pick last year, was undergoing "base-line testing" to determine whether he has a concussion. Along with both of the Chiefs' quarterbacks, tight end Kevin Boss and fullback Nate Eachus have also sustained concussions this season.
Tight end Jake O'Connell (ankle) and right guard Jon Asamoah (thumb) were held out of practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe (knee), tight end Steve Maneri (ankle) and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (thigh) were among those who were limited.
"We need to build on the effort, energy and attitude we played with Monday night," Crennel said. "Nobody is happy with our record. We have to improve on Monday's performance, and I feel like the second half of the season can be much better."
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