DENVER (AP) Broncos receiver Wes Welker suffered a concussion after taking a hit to the head from Houston defensive back D.J. Swearinger in a preseason game Saturday night.
Welker was leveled by Swearinger soon after catching a short pass over the middle with just seconds remaining in the second quarter. Swearinger drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for the hit on Welker, who has a history of concussions and wears a bigger helmet to further protect his head.
Denver coach John Fox said Welker won't return to the field until he goes through the league's concussion protocol.
''The biggest thing on him is, of course, player safety,'' Fox said.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was livid with Swearinger and gave him an earful after throwing a 29-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders just before halftime. Manning ran down the field and muttered something to Swearinger, which earned the QB a taunting penalty.
Asked to elaborate on his conversation, Manning said, ''I can't.''
Swearinger wouldn't expand on their dialogue, either.
''I won't put that in a headline. That is a Hall of Fame quarterback. I respect him,'' Swearinger said. ''There are some fine lines with hits. I could have tried to go low, but he ducked his head. I went with his shoulder. What am I supposed to do?''
Still, Manning was none too pleased. Welker had 73 catches for 778 yards and 10 TDs last season. He missed the final 3 1/2 games after sustaining his second concussion in a three-week span.
''I'm obviously concerned about Wes and never like to see him come out of the game with a potential blow to the head,'' Manning said.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL