Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr hit Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last week.
The two slammed to the ground, then Barr jumped back up. Rodgers did not. The All Pro quarterback had a broken right collarbone. He had surgery on Thursday and is likely out for the season.
People have been saying it was a dirty hit, and Barr has heard those opinions. He strongly disagrees.
“I don’t play dirty,” Barr proclaimed, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “We don’t preach that around here. It’s unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt.”
He does understand why people have said it was a dirty play or that he’s a dirty player, though. He thinks they’re just judging the outcome.
“I think it’s a dirty play in some people’s eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up we’re not having this conversation,” Barr said.
He does have a point. If Rodgers was fine and trotted back to the huddle, people probably would forget about that play on the next snap. Since he’s possibly out for the year and Green Bay’s entire season may be ruined, it’s getting a lot more press.
At least one person agrees with Barr: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“Watching it, I didn’t think it was dirty,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ve seen dirtier. I feel I’ve been hit dirtier and no penalty has been called. I got hit in Jacksonville out of the pocket and the ref said, ‘hey, you’re not afforded the same (rules) out of the pocket’ I said, ‘OK, fine. I just kept going. It is what it is. It’s unfortunate once guys are getting hit low or dirty plays or getting driven to the ground. Like I said, it didn’t look horrible to me, but obviously if you’re a Packers fan and an Aaron Rodgers fan, you’re going to think it’s dirty. Maybe I need to look at it closer. Like I said, I hate it for Aaron, the game, the sport, because obviously you lose one of the best players in football.”
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