Former Cleveland Browns defensive back Jason McCourty defended the tackle that Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick used to bring down Browns running back Nick Chubb on Monday night, which ultimately left Chubb out for the season after a significant knee injury.
“I don’t think it was intentionally dirty,” McCourty, who played for the Tennessee Titans, Browns, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins in his 13-year NFL career, said during an appearance on Good Morning Football on Tuesday.
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) September 19, 2023
“You look at the replay, you see him going low while someone is tackling him up high, you’re like, well why would he do that? People have to remember, for the safety position, DBs are smallest guys out on the field a lot of the times. So the way you get a big back down is you have to go low. You can’t tackle Nick Chubb up high because he’s going to run right through you. …
“In that split second, in his mind, he’s going, ‘He’s coming through this hole, I have to go and I have to take him low.’ If he had to re-do it again, knowing that somebody had him up high, maybe he doesn’t. But it’s easy for us to watch that in slow motion and say, ‘Well, he should have went up top.’
“He had already made that decision going full speed up to make a collision. You hate to see it, but I don’t think there was anything dirty or intentional about that play where he’s trying to injure Nick Chubb.”
That opinion was backed on social media by several other defensive player, including former Steelers safety Ryan Clark, who pointed out that it’s illegal for defensive players to hit people high.
If a defender goes high and a player gets concussed he’s dirty! If a defender goes low and a player gets a lower extremity injury he’s dirty. Where can he hit a runner then y’all? I mean sheesh. The growing softness of this game and the sensitivity of those who watch it saddens…
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) September 19, 2023
Former Steelers linebacker Vince Williams said “we are getting close to two-hand touch,” in response to a post from former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Nate Burleson, that suggested Fitzpatrick was either dirty or poor tackling form.