Seattle Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been accused of a “dirty” hit that knocked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of Sunday’s wildcard playoff game.
Wentz left the game, which the Eagles lost 17-9, with a head injury in the first quarter after Clowney made contact with the quarterback’s helmet during a tackle. Wentz’s head also slammed into the turf as he went down and he was replaced by back-up quarterback Josh McCown for the rest of the game.
Eagles tackle Jason Peters said he confronted Clowney about the tackle during the game. “I checked Clowney about it,” Peters said. “He was mouthing, I was mouthing back at him … I just told him, ‘Man, that’s a dirty play. And he’s like, ‘My bad,’ and we just kept playing. I just kept reminding him, ‘Man, stay off my quarterback.’ I’m a left tackle. I’ve got his back. I’m the blindside. And I just take it personal when somebody is taking a late hit or trying to rough up the quarterback.”
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz also questioned the legality of the play. “I thought it was late,” said Ertz, who played the game with fractured ribs. “I kinda knew something was wrong right away – just the way he got up. Devastated for my guy. Really tough.”
After the game, referee Shawn Smith said Clowney had done nothing wrong. “[Wentz] was a runner, and he did not give himself up,” he said. “We saw incidental helmet contact, and in our judgment, we didn’t rule that to be a foul.”
Clowney himself said he had not meant to hurt Wentz. “It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt anybody in this league, let me just put that out there,” he said. “I’ve been down the injury road; it’s not fun. My intention was not to hurt him. I was just playing fast.”
The Seahawks will now play the Green Bay Packers in this weekend’s divisional round of the playoffs.
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