Chargers' Brandon Staley explains why he didn't let Joey Bosa return to game vs. Bengals

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was evaluated for a concussion early in Sunday's win against the Cincinnati Bengals and was eventually ruled out after just nine defensive snaps. Surprisingly, head coach Brandon Staley told the media after the game that Bosa had made it through the concussion protocol and team doctors cleared him to return.

So why didn't Bosa actually make it back into the game? Staley said it was his decision to rule out Bosa, and he had a really good reason.

"Joey Bosa was cleared of a concussion, but it was our decision to hold him back," Staley said via CBS Sports. "With his history, we just wanted to make sure. As long as I'm the head coach here, we're going to be making decisions like that in the best interest of our players. He was cleared of a concussion, so that's good news."

Bosa has struggled with concussions before

Staley is well aware of Bosa's concussion history. Bosa was diagnosed with two concussions during the 2020 season and has discussed the mental struggles he's had in the aftermath.

“It was stressful dealing with it afterwards,” explained Bosa in November 2020 after missing two games with a concussion. “I definitely fell off for a few days, slowed down. I really didn't leave my room for the first day, I just went to get COVID tests or whatever. So, a little depressed for a few days thinking about it and the way it affects your brain.”

Keeping Bosa out of the game was the right decision for both his current and long-term health. The NFL focuses on concussions as the end-all, be-all in their quest for player safety, but being cleared of a concussion doesn't mean you're actually in the clear as far as your brain is concerned. That's even more true for someone like Bosa, who has had numerous concussions.

Staley made the decision to protect Bosa, and it was the right call. And even if the Chargers had lost, it still would have been the right call.