NFL concussion protocol

The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a gut-wrenching loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a controversial hit from Vontaze Burfict on Antonio Brown played a significant role in the outcome.

Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, who received a personal foul penalty following the hit, insisted during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show that Brown wasn’t actually hurt and should.

“Antonio Brown was not hurt. I know he was faking it. Go back and look at that play. If you go back in slow-motion, you tell me that Vontaze hit him in the head, or did his shoulder pads barely touch him.”

Jones added that Brown deserves to win a Grammy — yes, that’s an award for singers, but you get the point — and winked at him while walking off the field.

Although we can read Jones’ comments and react in a wide variety of ways, none will change the result of the game.

Watching Burfict’s hit live, it looked brutal and worthy of a penalty. Then in slow motion, it’s clear the first contact is Burfict’s helmet grazing Brown’s helmet, followed by a shoulder to the helmet.

Fair or not — and one’s answer may depend on a sports-related bias — that’s going to draw a flag in today’s NFL.

Maybe Brown made the hit look worse than it was. Maybe he didn’t. We don’t know and probably won’t find out the honest answer. Perhaps Brown winked because he knew Pittsburgh was about to win and thought it would rile up an emotional player like Jones, in which case that worked perfectly.

Cincinnati lost because of a fumble, an ugly hit and stupid personal foul. Brown supposedly exaggerating the impact of Burfict’s hit was a byproduct of a complete collapse by Jeremy Hill, Burfict, Jones and the Bengals.