GREEN BAY — Malachi Dupre was back at work Friday, mere hours after the Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver left Lambeau Field in an ambulance and spent the night in a local hospital after a wicked, hard hit during the fourth quarter of the team’s preseason opener against Philadelphia.
“It was like he didn’t even get hit yesterday,” fellow rookie wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, Dupre’s training camp roommate, said after Dupre took part in meetings Friday afternoon. “But, yeah, that was a crazy hit.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy had another word for that hit — and the one that put cornerback Damarious Randall in the concussion protocol along with Dupre: Illegal.
McCarthy said that he submitted both Eagles safety Tre Sullivan’s helmet-first tackle of Dupre and wide receiver Bryce Treggs’ crackback block on Randall to the NFL to be reviewed, saying both went against the NFL’s renewed focus on player safety.
“They’re definitely both plays we turned into the league,” McCarthy said. “That’s a process that you go through each and every game. I’m sure we’ll get an evaluation from the league on that with the emphasis (on player safety). Obviously those two hits fit in that category.
“We all watch the same videos. There’s emphasis each and every year about how can we make the league better. Obviously, player safety is at the forefront of that, and when you see things like those two hits last night, they’re definitely of concern in the area of player safety. You don’t want to see your players ever get injured, specifically if it’s not within the climate of what the league’s looking for as far as the proper way to block or so forth.”
Asked directly if he thought they were illegal hits, McCarthy replied, “If I turned them into the league, I don’t think they’re legal hits.”
Neither Sullivan nor Treggs was flagged for their hits.
Randall was injured during a LeGarrette Blount run, as he didn’t see Treggs coming from his left to block him. He stayed down for a moment before being helped off the field and taken to the locker room.
The hit on Dupre came at the end of his 3-yard catch-and-run at the start of the fourth quarter. Sullivan came flying in and caught Dupre in the shoulder, chest and helmet with the crown of his own helmet. Dupre lay motionless on the field as Yancey signaled to the Packers’ sideline that his roommate needed medical attention immediately.
McCarthy came out onto the field along with team physicians Dr. John Gray and Dr. Pat McKenzie and the athletic training staff. Asked what the scene was like up close, McCarthy said, “Nerve-wracking. There were moments there of high concern. ... Just on the reaction of the players on the play, you know it potentially may be a bad situation.”
Yancey said Dupre arrived at Lambeau Field around 1 p.m. and was able to take part in the Packers’ day-after meetings. Dupre was not available to speak to reporters because of the NFL’s concussion protocol rules, but Yancey said he was in good spirits.
“As soon as he got here, he was telling me the last thing he remembered and about how he was in the hospital,” Yancey said. “But he was fine and full of joy like he always is, so that’s good to see he’s all right.”
The Packers got relatively good news on backup offensive lineman Don Barclay’s ankle injury, which McCarthy said was “not as bad as we initially thought it was on the field.” … When the team returns to practice on Sunday – in a closed practice focused on preparing for the Sept. 10 regular-season opener vs. Seattle –tight end Richard Rodgers may have to practice wearing a club cast or splint to protect an injured finger. McCarthy said the medical staff is “still working through exactly what he’s going to wear. You can customize it, you can try this splint or that, so we’re still going through that with Rich.” … With no hiccups in the place kicking game, solid punting from Justin Vogel, good snapping by Derek Hart and Trevor Davis’ 68-yard punt return, McCarthy was pleased with special teams. “If I was going to say which unit played best in the game last night, it was clearly special teams,” he said. ... McCarthy is hoping his headset, which was out for the entire first half, works properly for the team’s preseason finale on Aug. 31, the next home game. What happens when it malfunctions like Thursday night? “I encourage the people to fix it. Quickly,” McCarthy replied. … Speaking for the first time on troubled defensive tackle Letroy Guion’s release earlier this week, McCarthy said Guion “has a lot of love and respect in the locker room. Anytime one of your players goes through tough personal situations, you support them and try to work with him, but frankly, this time right now, Letroy’s focus needs to be on himself and getting things right personally.”