Falcons' Defensive Coordinator Pees Sent to Hospital After Pregame Collision

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Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees was taken to the hospital after colliding with a player during pregame warm-ups. 

Pees was accidentally hit by New Orleans Saints return man Rashid Shaheed, sending Pees falling backward to the turf around the 35-yard line. 

Medical staff and coaches surrounded Pees before a cart and stretcher were brought onto the field. Pees' neck was stabilized and he was placed on the cart to take him off the field. 

Pees was released from University Medical Center New Orleans, and he flew back to Atlanta with the team Sunday night. 

"We called them up when we got in from warm-ups, said our prayers for him and tried to update them and just be honest about the situation. Everybody in the stadium saw it," Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told ESPN. "Scary moment for him. Thankfully the Saints doctors and our doctors did a hell of a job, got him evaluated and will continue to monitor him.

"I don't think I've ever been a part of something like that."

After the game, Shaheed apologized for the accident. 

"I was backing up to catch a punt and I kind of just ran into him," Shaheed said. "... I never saw him. I immediately was super concerned. But I got word that he's back from the hospital, he's healthy and doing OK, so I'm thankful for that. I'm glad he's doing OK. If he sees this, I'm sorry. My apologies."

According to ESPN, Pees, 73, is the oldest defensive coordinator in the NFL. He has been with Atlanta for two seasons after coming out of retirement once the Falcons hired Smith. It isn't the first time Pees has had to be taken to the hospital from a game.

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