ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley was strapped to a stretcher on Monday, with helmet still on and his facemask taken off. He was loaded onto a cart and, even though he threw a thumb up before exited the Oakland Coliseum field of play, there was real concern for his safety.
The Raiders cornerback got hit on top of his helmet by Johnathan Abram's knee and thigh during Monday night's victory over Denver, seeming to compress his neck. Conley was on the turf for a long time, admittedly fearful that he had suffered a significant injury.
"It was scary," Conley said Friday. "I didn't want to get up initially, but I knew I was good once some time passed. After a while, my neck didn't really hurt."
That didn't stop trainers from exercising extreme caution. Conley wanted to walk off the field, but that wasn't an option. Chances were not taken based on how Conley felt.
"It was precautionary," Conley said. "I had to follow protocol."
Conley knew quickly he would be all right but understood those around him didn't. It was a scary scene from a distance and must've been hard on loved ones watching from the seats or on TV.
"That's more scary for my family," Conley told reporters. "I don't want my family to think it's something more than what it is … But I understand (the trainers') side, too. It was just precautionary, so I just followed the instructions."
Conley's neck was examined further at an area hospital and after doctors looked at the imaging, he was cleared to return to Oakland Coliseum and eventually head home.
Head coach Jon Gruden received good news on Monday night, that Conley would be okay.
Conley was back to normal in no time. He has been a limited practice participant all week and is formally questionable to play Sunday against Kansas City, but Conley's fully expected to start against the Chiefs.
"I think he looks good," Gruden said. "Thankfully really happy to say he's okay to start with, but he's a tough guy and he had a good week of practice."
His friends and teammates were as worried as others were initially, and are thrilled to see him back in action right away.
"When you see a guy in a situation where they're carted off, you pray and hope everything's okay," cornerback Daryl Worley said. "It's a blessing that he's able to walk it off and step on the field this week."