falcons dc dean pees cleared return

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The Falcons had to make an emergency switch to their defensive coaching staff last week. A pregame collision resulted in defensive coordinator Dean Pees needing to be hospitalized and inside linebackers coach Frank Bush assuming play-calling duties.

Fortunately, Pees will be back with his team in its Week 16 game Saturday in Baltimore. The veteran DC received clearance to return, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com notes.

Pees, who had come out of retirement to be Arthur Smith‘s defensive architect last year, was talking to FOX sideline reporter Kristina Pink during pregame warmups when he collided with Saints wide receiver Rashid Shaheed. Pees, 73, said he does not believe he lost consciousness, but due to blood thinner medication he is taking, doctors told him he could have bleeding in his brain. A CT scan cleared Pees, however.

“Just kind of looking up and going, ‘What the hell just happened?” Pees said of the collision, via Rothstein. “I thought I was good enough, beat up a little bit but don’t feel like I’m concussed or anything like that. They said, no, because of that, they wanted to take precautionary measures and put the stuff on my neck and all that kind of stuff. It looks terrible, but it’s precautionary.”

Bush, who served as the Texans’ defensive coordinator for two seasons under Gary Kubiak and finished the 2020 season as the Jets’ interim DC, said he initially thought Pees would coach from the box after his fall. But Smith informed him he would need to call plays for the Falcons, who lost 21-18 in their Saints rematch. Pees was back at the team’s practice facility Monday.

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