New England Patriots

Benjamin Watson of the New England Patriots looks for yards after a second quarter catch while playing the Detroit Lions during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Ben Watson was already out the first four games of the season. But he now needs to deal with concussion symptoms as well, after being on the receiving end of a highly questionable hit.

Watson is in the NFL’s concussion protocol as the result of a late, high hit by the Panthers’ Eric Reid in Thursday’s 10-3 Patriots preseason win, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The veteran tight end immediately left the game to be examined for a head injury.

Reid drove his shoulder into Watson’s helmet after the tight end had fallen to his back. Replays indicate that Reid had plenty of time to let up on the hit as Watson was clearly flipping to the turf.

The Panthers safety tacitly claimed no malicious intent behind the hit.

“I was just trying to stop him from getting the first down,” Reid said. “I looked at the replay and yeah he was down. So let’s see what the league wants to do with it. I anticipate myself getting a fine but, I was just playing the game. I asked him if he was OK and if he could get up. You hate to see anyone get hurt.”

Perhaps coincidentally, Reid engaged in a sociopolitically charged Twitter feud with Watson earlier this week. It’s hard to believe that their issues didn’t factor into Reid’s behavior, but at the same time it’s football and even in the preseason they play a million miles an hour. That doesn’t excuse an obviously dirty play by Reid, which is likely to get him in trouble with the league office.

The hope for Watson, of course, is that his concussion is relatively mild. The four weeks he’s already out will be more than enough time to be ready in Week 5.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at