Carolina edge rusher Brian Burns is nursing an ankle injury sustained during the Panthers’ 24-6 loss to the New England Patriots, after quarterback Mac Jones tackled the veteran by the ankle after he strip-sacked him.
Burns’ defensive teammates, Haason Reddick and Shaq Thompson have been very vocal about the play, calling it “dirty” and demanding the NFL at least fine the rookie quarterback for something they say has no place in the league.
Monday, during an interview on WEEI, Jones said he was making a “bang bang play.”
“I got hit pretty hard. I didn’t really know exactly what was going on. I thought he had the ball and it was my job to try and make the tackle. That’s pretty much it. Obviously, when you get up and see the ball is actually down the field a little more…it as just a bang bang play. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody, or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle him and make the play.”
When asked about Panthers’ players calling for him to get fined, Jones said “it is, what it is.”
“During the game, no one is out there besides the players. That’s what I thought happened and I had to make the tackle. I did what I did in real time and it is, what it is.”
Real time or not; possession of the ball or not, grabbing a player’s ankle and twisting it to tackle him is far from a “bang, bang play.” It’s a play that could’ve caused great harm to Burns and at minimum should’ve been flagged on the field. The NFL needs to send a message that plays like this aren’t acceptable. If this were Tom Brady or Pat Mahommes, or even Mac Jones, the flag would’ve been thrown and fine already been issued.