Mac Jones said he wasn’t trying to injure Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns on a play Sunday that one of Burns’ teammates called “completely dirty.”
The play in question came in the first quarter when Burns strip-sacked Jones from the blind side. The New England Patriots rookie quarterback then held Burns’ right ankle as Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu recovered the fumble.
After the play, Burns could be seen in pain on the field before limping off. He later returned to the game before departing a second time in the fourth quarter.
Jones didn’t address the incident on Sunday after the game, but on Monday he denied that he intentionally tried to hurt Burns during the tackle.
“After 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 was pretty much it. And you know, obviously when you get up and you see the ball is actually down the field a little bit more. … It was just a bang-bang play, and I didn’t mean to hurt anybody or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle him and make the play. Because you know, I didn’t really know what was going on.”
The NFL will reportedly review the play, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, which could lead to a fine against Jones.
“Definitely thought it was a dirty play,” Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick told reporters after the game. “I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening. At first it felt like he was trying trip or kick Burns. And the next thing you know I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something the league addresses.”