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Did Ben Roethlisberger return to the game too soon?

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered what appeared to be a head injury in the fourth quarter of the team's loss to Baltimore in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. He returned to throw an interception, bringing out the question of whether he came back in the game too soon.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Before the real increase in concussion-related action (not just NFL-mandated rhetoric), players went back on the field after taking big hits to the head. In 2011, after Browns quarterback was knocked semi-conscious on a hit, he eventually returned to the game and looked pretty bad in doing it.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out three plays in the team's loss to Baltimore Saturday and came back in to throw a pretty bad interception, by his standards.

The question is going to be asked, did he come back too early?

To whatever degree the protocol was followed - we have no reason to believe it wasn't - the game situation needs to be considered, if the assumption will be made his final interception was caused by the hit he took. Roethlisberger was trying to make a play in a dire situation for his team. It certainly wasn't the first interception he threw into tight coverage, nor was it the first the NFL even saw on that day with questionable purpose.

Concussions are a serious matter in the NFL and Roethlisberger spent enough time on the sideline, based on others who have had the same injury. Ravens cornerback Rashaan Melvin was off for no more than a handful of plays after he was on the losing end of a self-delivered helmet shot to Steelers running back Ben Tate.

Suggesting Roethlisberger, the team's leader, shouldn't have come back in the game goes against the mentality that helps make a player perform at the level Roethlisberger normally does. More than anything, this seems more like a bad throw forced by circumstance, and a play made by an excellent defense.