Dak Prescott used smelling salts right after being examined for concussion

The NFL has been criticized in the past for its handling of players dealing with concussions. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott became the latest player to draw the ire of football fans following his quick return from a rough hit Sunday.

The hit, in a loss to the Washington Redskins, occurred with roughly two minutes left in the first quarter. Prescott rolled to his left and started running near the sideline to pick up a first down. He dove headfirst at the first-down marker, and took a shot to the head.

There was no penalty on the hit.

Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo — who was calling the game in the broadcast booth — immediately thought Prescott had a concussion.

Prescott was taken back to the blue tent on the sideline for an evaluation, but that didn’t last long. He was quickly cleared, and returned to the field for the team’s next drive.

As he was walking back onto the field, however, cameras caught him using smelling salts.

Some viewed that as an opportunity to criticize the NFL for allowing a player to return too soon. Others were less concerned, saying it’s something Prescott does all the time.

Even if that was the case here, Prescott’s timing could put the NFL in a tough spot. A player using smelling salts just after going through the league’s concussion protocol is not a good look.

Prescott finished the first half with 149 passing yards. He completed 12 of 15 passes. While his first half was strong, Prescott was involved in a crucial turnover in the fourth quarter. With 4:55 left to go, Prescott was sacked and fumbled. The ball was recovered by the Redskins in the end zone, giving the team a 20-10 lead. Prescott led the Cowboys to cut Washington’s lead to three with a rushing touchdown on the next drive. The Cowboys nearly tied the game at the last second, but kicker Brett Maher missed a field goal as time expired. The Cowboys lost the game 20-17.

Despite Prescott’s late heroics, everyone watching the game saw the smelling salt incident take place early in the game. Given that, the NFL could feel compelled to take a closer look at exactly what happened while Prescott was out.

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Dak Prescott through the years
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Dak Prescott through the years
MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: South team's quarterback Dak Prescott #15 with Mississippi State on January 30, 2016 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 25: Quarterback Dak Prescott #14 of Mississippi State speaks to the media during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 25, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum during preseason on August 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
25 SEP 2016: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) [20763] during the NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 09: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warming up before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Bengals 28-14. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Ezekiel Elliott #21 takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play at the line of scrimmage during the game against the Green Bay Packers on October 16, 2016 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cowboys defeated the Packers 30-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to overtime with Quarterback Tony Romo (9) looking on during the NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on October 30, 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Dallas defeats Philadelphia 29-23 in overtime. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Dak Prescott #4 hands the ball off to Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on from the field after a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers 35-30. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after an interview during the NFL Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, 2016, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers with a final score of 35-30. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 20: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) points to the sky after throwing a touchdown during the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Baltimore Ravens on November 20, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Dallas defeats Baltimore 27-17. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up on the field prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) leads the huddle against the Tampa Buccaneers on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dak Prescott #4 (L), Ezekiel Elliott #21, and Cole Beasley #11 of the Dallas Cowboys relax before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: NFL player Dak Prescott attends The 2017 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - JULY 24: Dak Prescott #4 and head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys share a laugh during the first day of training camp on July 24, 2017 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys adjusts his jersey on the field during warmups before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 26: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on August 26, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the field during player warm ups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to the NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys on October 1, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the field prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a touchdown pass to Dez Bryant #88 against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the sidelines during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 29: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Cowboys win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on October 29, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) scrambles free from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Allen Bailey (97) for a touchdown run in the first half on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Brad Loper/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 12: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warm up prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 30: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys tries to evade tackle on a scramble in the first half of a football game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) smiles during pregame warmups before a game against the New York Giants on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (David Kent/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates in the final moments of their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys takes the handoff from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter of a football game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys walks off the field after the Seattle Seahawks beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-12 at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 03: NFL Player Dak Prescott attends the NFL Honors at University of Minnesota on February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) drops back to pass during the morning walk-through at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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