Around the NFL  

 

Tony Gonzalez angry at 'ridiculous' hit on Dustin Keller

Add Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez to the list of players who don't buy what D.J. Swearinger is selling.

The Houston Texans rookie safety ended the season of Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller with a low hit in Saturday night's preseason game. Swearinger apologized for the blow that decimated Keller's knee and told reporters: "With the rules in this era, you've got to hit low."

Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline called Swearinger's explanation "crap," and Gonzalez chimed in Wednesday, telling USA Today on Wednesday: "Any player who does that, I don't like it at all. I have no respect for that."

Said Gonzalez: "I saw (Swearinger's) remark, 'That's just football,' and he showed a little bit of grief for the guy -- I'm not buying it at all. Don't tell me that the rules prohibit you from hitting a guy up top. You have a whole target area above his knee up to his neck that you can hit. I've watched that play a bunch of times."

Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, explained Wednesday on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" that Swearinger's hit was legal because it didn't involve the crown of the helmet.

"Keller is considered a defenseless player. He's a receiver attempting to catch a pass," Blandino said. "He's protected in two ways: He's protected on hits to the head or neck area. And he's protected on hits to the body with the crown or full head hairline of the helmet.

"Those rules do not prohibit low contact like you see here. It is a legal hit with an unfortunate result, something that the competition committee will continue to look at as we do look at all player injuries during the season. But it is a legal hit."

The league has pushed hard to prevent and address head injuries, but Gonzalez -- entering his 17th season -- said he'd rather see a tackler aim for his head than for his knees.

"You're talking about a career-ending injury. ... It should be a fineable offense, just like going for the head is," Gonzalez said. " ... I keep seeing the debate (on TV) and all these people saying, 'They're forcing defenders to go low.' No, they're not. That play was ridiculous."

The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15