This was scary and unwelcome news right before kickoff in New Orleans, as Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees has reportedly been carted off the field after he and a Saints player collided during warmups.
Thankfully, the team released a statement confirming that Pees was treated and released from the hospital, and he will be able to join the team on the flight back to Atlanta.
NFL insider Ian Rapoport shared a statement from the Falcons that says Pees is headed to the hospital, but was thankfully “stable, alert and responsive” on the field. Inside linebackers coach Frank Bush, a longtime coach in the NFL and a defensive coordinator in the past for the Jets and Texans, will assume defensive coordinator and play-calling duties today, per the team.
Per ESPN’s Mike Rothstein, Pees was on the field for “several minutes” before being taken away. Former Saints running back Deuce McAllister reports that his neck was stabilized, as well.
Falcons DC Dean Pees was carted off the field after colliding with a Saints player during warmups prior to today's game in New Orleans.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) December 18, 2022
He was on the field for several minutes before taken off.
Dean Peas— deuce mcallister (@dmcallister26) December 18, 2022
DC for the Falcons had to get carted off. Stabilize his neck https://t.co/zavPlVopLb
Josh Kendall at The Athletic reports that an unnamed Falcons staffer seemed optimistic about Pees’ condition, so we’ll hope that optimism is warranted. You never want to see a player or coach down on the field for any reason, but given that Pees is older, that concern is just further magnified.
Falcons DC Dean Pees was taken from field on back board after being run into by kick returner. Falcons staffer expressed optimism about Pees condition.— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) December 18, 2022
Pees, who is 73 years old, has been a defensive coordinator in the NFL for decades, and has manned the job for the Falcons the past two seasons. Coming out of the bye, Pees and the defensive coaching staff seemed likely to make tweaks to the lineup and the gameplan to try to get more out of a unit dealing with injuries and shaky execution. Bush will be tasked with doing that today against the Saints offense.
Falcons veteran safety @e_harris_31 came over to check on Dean Pees right before he was carted off the field. Moment caught by @victorprieto_11.— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) December 18, 2022
A lot of folks on sideline were shaken up when I was down there; but very glad that news seems to be positive at this point. pic.twitter.com/Qeb2jOcuk9
In the meantime, join us in wishing Pees well and hoping he’s okay after a frightening moment this afternoon. Again, we’ll hope to get further updates soon, and that we’ll have more positive news to share.