The NFL ruled on Tuesday that a hit to Kevin Williams’ knees was legal and that San Francisco’s Joe Looney won’t be disciplined for his actions.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has a problem with that.
“That’s absolutely absurd,” he said. “You talk about player safety and wanting to protect us, how is Kevin not a defenseless player?”
“I have a problem when we talk about player safety in this league, and we have a clear case of a guy intentionally trying to hurt a guy, and we do nothing about it, and we pat him on the back and say it’s OK.”
Williams was away from the play and never saw the block coming in Sunday’s game. Looney ducked his head and shoulders and hit five-time All-Pro defensive tackle in the knees.
Williams escaped ligament damage, but he suffered a hyperextended right knee, a significant bone contusion and a posterior capsular strain. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he hopes Williams will be available for the Sept. 8 season opener.
The league determined that Looney’s hit didn’t violate the new rule against peel-back blocks.
“The intent was to take his knee out,” Allen said. “He could have hit him right in the chest and no one would have said anything. But when you intentionally duck and put your helmet or put your shoulder pad into a guy’s knee, in my place there’s no room for that.”
Looney told reporters in San Francisco that he didn’t intend to hurt Williams and that he was just trying to finish his block. Williams called it a “coward” move. His teammates voiced their anger, too.
“You can say what you want, that you didn’t mean to hurt him, but the reality is you did that, and you didn’t have to,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “And now you have a guy who’s been one of the best at his position for a long time dealing with an injury he shouldn’t have to deal with.”
Both Greenway and Allen accused the NFL of having a double standard, saying a fine would have been levied if roles were reversed.
“If the defensive guy was going into a quarterback or a receiver, or a high-profile player, you tell me what would happen,” Greenway said.
Allen was fined $21,000 last season for his blindside high hit on Chicago guard Lance Louis during an interception return. Louis suffered a torn ACL on the play.
“I didn’t go in with the intent of taking his knee out,” Allen said. “I got fined something hefty because they said I launched. They said he was a defenseless player. But I had no ill intent. My problem with this play is the intent. He ducked down to hit [Williams] in the knee. If the league can’t see that, they can fine me for this. It’s absurd.”