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Cleared from concussion, Ravens WR Wallace says it was his decision not to play vs. Miami

Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace fought vigorously to return to the field Oct. 22 after a high hit from Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo knocked him out of the game and into concussion protocol. He pleaded with head coach John Harbaugh and members of the Ravens' medical staff, and he searched frantically for his helmet in various equipment boxes on the sideline.

Four days later, as the Ravens prepared to face the Miami Dolphins, Wallace's mindset changed. Wallace acknowledged Thursday that he passed all the required concussion tests and was cleared to play against the Dolphins. However, he made the decision not to play and to miss just the second game of his nine-year career because of concern over suffering another head injury.

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"It was just like a decision that I was going back and forth with the whole day," Wallace said after Thursday's practice. "I was able to play, but it was just the smart decision, I felt, with the short rest and stuff like that. I felt good, I felt great. But it was just the risk of getting hit like that twice. The chances are real slim, but there's always the possibility when you step on the field and I don't want to be out on the field second guessing anything. I want to feel comfortable, feel like myself. I just went with that decision and coach supported me. We won 40-0, so that's always great."

Wallace acknowledged that he was impacted by family concerns along with learning of stories of NFL players dealing with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after their playing careers.

"If it was just up to me, I'm like, 'I'm playing.' As soon as I took the hit in the game, I was looking for my helmet. I wanted to play. As soon as we finished the game, I'm telling our trainers, 'I'm playing next week. I'm playing in this game Thursday.' That's the way I felt," Wallace said. "But talking to my mom, my girl, they were just like, 'No.' They were never supporting me playing in that game. At the end of the day, it was my decision. I just kind of waited and I just felt like it was the best thing for the situation.

"It was not even just about me being in the league. It was just about the knowledge of what's going on with the head injuries and things like that. When I first got into the league, we were just really starting to hear about it. It wasn't as developed as far as people knowing about the things that they know about, like CTE and things like that. It was just, I think, the best decision [with] the knowledge that I have now about it and the timing."

Wallace was limited in Thursday's practice. However, it was because he's still dealing with back soreness. He said he has had no side effects from the concussion and it won't be on his mind Sunday when he's expected to start at wide receiver against the Tennessee Titans.

"I'm a dog," Wallace said. "That don't matter. I'm just built like that. Honestly, I don't even remember the play. I got hit hard. I was out for a second. I don't even remember getting hit honestly. I remember when I watched the play, I'm like, 'Oh, that's what happened.' I just remember catching a ball and then being in the locker room. That play has no effect on my mental [state] going back across the middle and doing it again, because I honestly don't even remember it. I'm good."

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