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Dean Pees treated and released from hospital after Saints player collided with him during warmups

It’s a scary moment right before kickoff for the longtime defensive coordinator.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.