Sitting here watching the game on my own comfortable couch, the last thing I want to do is accuse a player who’s genuinely hurt of faking an injury. So I may end up owing Browns linebacker Blake Costanzo an apology.
But it sure looked like Costanzo faked an injury during today’s win over the Patriots so that the Browns could get the correct defensive personnel on the field.
In fact, watching the play again, it looks like Costanzo faked an injury so blatantly that he should get a Razzie Award for Worst Actor.
Here’s what happened: The Patriots had third-and-15, and Tom Brady hit Aaron Hernandez for 13 yards. New England was about to go for it on fourth-and-2, and with the Patriots hurrying to the line of scrimmage, Costanzo appeared to gesture to the sideline as if to ask whether the coaches wanted to substitute for him. He then fell down, untouched, and lied on the ground and talked to a trainer, who appeared to be smiling during their conversation.
I tweeted that I thought Costanzo was faking and immediately heard from others who thought so as well, and there are plenty of people on Twitter who saw the same thing. It’s possible that all those people are wrong and Costanzo really was hurt, but it’s more likely that he was exploiting the rule that allows substitutions for injured players.
There’s a word for that, and the word is cheating.