'Complete recovery' seen for McGahee

Updated: January 20, 2009, 1:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Willis McGahee joined his teammates Monday at Baltimore's training complex after doctors told him he would make a full recovery from a fierce helmet-to-helmet hit in the AFC Championship Game that had him carted off the field.

McGahee
McGahee

"I'm all right. Everything is OK," the running back told reporters as the Ravens cleared out their lockers. "The MRI and the CAT scan checked out good. I was scared, but I didn't know how serious it was. It was pretty intense."

The play occurred in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's 23-14 victory. McGahee had just caught a pass and taken two steps before being met by safety Ryan Clark, who drove his helmet into McGahee's face mask. McGahee's head snapped back, and he lost the ball as he dropped to the ground.

"I didn't even see him coming," McGahee said.

Clark also collapsed, though it was immediately apparent that his injury wasn't serious. Players from both teams gathered around McGahee, who lay motionless before being taken away.

AFC Championship: McGahee injury

NFL.com Video

Ravens RB Willis McGahee takes a scary hit from Ryan Clark in the AFC Championship Game.

"I blacked out. I woke up when they were taking my face mask off," McGahee said. "I opened my eyes and I was talking. The next thing I knew I woke up in some room and they were taking me to the ambulance."

According to the Boston Globe, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Clark won't be fined for the hit.

"[McGahee] had completed the catch and was a runner," Aiello said, according to the Globe. "Helmet-to-helmet contact is legal in that situation as it is for any ball carrier [running back, quarterback, or receiver]. Helmet-to-helmet contact is prohibited against defenseless players [defined as a receiver in the process of making a catch or a quarterback in the act of passing]."

McGahee said he has a concussion and his neck is extremely sore. But he said he would be ready to go next season.

He hadn't watched the replay of the hit by late Monday afternoon, but his memory of the aftermath was vivid.

"I felt like I was OK when I was on the ground, regained consciousness and starting moving," he said. "But then they told me not to move, so I started to get a little worried. After we got inside they took X-rays and told me everything was OK."

As a precaution, McGahee was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for a CAT scan and MRI, then held overnight for observation. He was released early Monday morning and dropped by his home in Baltimore before attending a team meeting.

Starting at tailback in place of the banged-up Le'Ron McClain, McGahee ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns.

"I just wanted to make a difference in the football game. This was my first AFC Championship Game," he said.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report

ALSO SEE