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Stevie Johnson says block that tore Eric Berry’s ACL wasn’t a cheap shot

Stevie Johnson AP

With the Chiefs losing safety Eric Berry for the full season after tearing an ACL during a Week One blowout loss to the Bills, the debate has now turned to the question of whether the hit that tore the ligament should result in a fine for Bills receiver Stevie Johnson.

Berry’s camp, we’re told, definitely believes that Johnson should be fined for diving helmet first at Berry’s lower legs while trying to throw a block ahead of the ball carrier.  The video clearly shows that Johnson hit Berry low.

Johnson disagrees.  Strongly.

Asked via Twitter by “@Mr_Hoosier” whether “God [made] you take a cheap shot on our best player,” Johnson said this:  “man shutup U clown ILL NEVER CHEAPSHOT A PLAYER ON THE FIELD! IDC if he my Enemy U Square! Last I checked a cut block was legal!”

Actually, Johnson is right.  There’s nothing illegal about diving at a guy’s knees in the open field.

That said, most players wish it were illegal.  Last year, after a rash of helmet-to-helmet hits heightened everyone’s sensitivity to defenseless players, several players made it clear that they’d rather be hit high than low, since taking a low hit can tear up a knee — and limit or end a career.

Thus, even though Johnson is unlikely to be fined, Johnson could be subject to scorn from his peers.

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77 Responses to “Stevie Johnson says block that tore Eric Berry’s ACL wasn’t a cheap shot”
  1. scudbot says: Sep 12, 2011 3:29 PM

    God must have abandoned him again.

  2. kellyb9 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:31 PM

    It’s a physical game… players might get injured. I’m sick of unwritten rules in sports, and I really saw no intent to injure in the clip. If he didn’t break a rule, then the hit is fine in my book.

  3. asublimeday says: Sep 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    Haha that was a funny question the fan asked, though.

  4. schmitty2 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    “Why so serious??”

  5. denisceo says: Sep 12, 2011 3:34 PM

    Tell em that God did it !

  6. biloty says: Sep 12, 2011 3:35 PM

    This is the same guy who got on Bronco Rahim Moore for a borderline tackle in the preseason. Very dirty hit, Stevie. Way to lead with your helmet, too.

  7. jaggedmark says: Sep 12, 2011 3:35 PM

    And obviously Johnson is subject to your scorn, because cheap shots and illegal shots seem to be the latest wagon you’re going to drive to the finish line or off a cliff.

    Your last wagon was the sudden death overtime.

  8. 6the6ringedsteelerslolatyouremptylittletrophycase7 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:37 PM

    Definitely a cheap shot. 6 rings

  9. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Sep 12, 2011 3:39 PM

    With the NFL not letting goes go high in this situation what’s he supposed to do? If you can’t hit ‘em high you have to hit ‘em low.

  10. clavette says: Sep 12, 2011 3:40 PM

    he wasnt trying to injure berry.

    was it a low hit? absolutely but again he didnt purposely try to hit him to end his season.

    sucks seeing good players get knocked out of the season

  11. axespray says: Sep 12, 2011 3:42 PM

    “yo homie, I like hittin’ up homie’s kneecaps, that’s how we roll, gooddell wants us to wear skirts!”

    (steve johnson takes a photo where he holds up glocks)

  12. terrellblowens says: Sep 12, 2011 3:42 PM

    @biloty

    Leading with your helmet at someone’s knees is more likely to get you a concussion than it is to injure the other guy. Plus he went with his shoulders

  13. docredskin says: Sep 12, 2011 3:42 PM

    Not a cheap shot at all. If the NFL wants to eliminate such blocks, eliminate their legality. Guys get hurt. It happens. Forgive me if I don’t feel too badly for the guy simply because of the manner in which he got hurt. It stinks that his year is over, but it was a legal play.

  14. pikindaguy says: Sep 12, 2011 3:43 PM

    “Johnson could be subject to scorn from his peers.”

    The “scorn” will be the least of his worries, his comment just created two big X’s around each of his knee caps..

  15. johnnyjagfan says: Sep 12, 2011 3:44 PM

    Legal hit in a year after the most pro-player-safety CBA?

    Players don’t apparently want to see the cut block go.

  16. edmazeing1 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:45 PM

    Mixtape was allright S.J!!!

  17. gacoltfan says: Sep 12, 2011 3:46 PM

    Didn’t look cheap, intentional or illegal to me. Looked like a good block. He blocks him high, the defender shrugs off the block and makes the tackle.

  18. cthesleepers says: Sep 12, 2011 3:47 PM

    Im pretty sure Berry was back on the field after the hit. Why not blame the coaching staff for putting him back out there.

  19. whags334 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:48 PM

    I am not a fan of either team, so I will give you my honest opinion, like anyone cares. It was a dirty, illegal hit. It was a cut block but he lead with his helmet. He was also coming from out of Berry’s field of vision, could have easily blocked him without going for the knees.

  20. BanGODdell says: Sep 12, 2011 3:49 PM

    Was it a illegal hit…No
    Should it be a illegal hit… YES
    Was it a cheap shot… Yes
    Do I think he meant to hurt Berry… NO

    The NFL and GODdell is making players go low. Get the rule back to Helmet to Helmet and let the players hit with their shoulder pads high like they were and are being taught and injuires like this will stop. Will there be Concussions, yes but they most likely will not be Season or Career ending

  21. mn1bjb says: Sep 12, 2011 3:49 PM

    He had ample time to see Stevie coming and brace for his low dive that took him out. Plays like this are a part of football. It’s unfortunate Berry got injured. What is Steve suppose to do? Square him up and ask him not to take down the ball carrier?

  22. 2sloweggroll says: Sep 12, 2011 3:49 PM

    I am a Raider fan, and this loss will effect the AFC West.

    Flat out that was a cheap shot. He could have de-cleated Berry and it would have been fine, but he chose to DIVE at the mans legs. That was completely Chicken$h!t and I hope the NFL looks at suspending him (next week would be great for me Goodell).

    There is no room for this in the game and I hope Berry fully recovers from this injury.

    Man this will hurt the Chiefs.

  23. riverhorsey says: Sep 12, 2011 3:50 PM

    Your knees are your career in the NFL. May be legal but it looked pretty bad.

  24. biloty says: Sep 12, 2011 3:50 PM

    @terrellblowens Point taken. Shooting at players knees with your helmet means the body is following; meaning, you don’t only risk consussing yourself, but also increase the force directed at targeted body part… this being a dude’s knee.

  25. spharrgcs says: Sep 12, 2011 3:50 PM

    However Johnson wants to craft it, he took an unnecessary low shot at Berry, and ended his season. Johnson would be wise to look both ways before crossing the middle in the future. Better yet, he should probably stick to fly patterns.

  26. nflofficeadmin says: Sep 12, 2011 3:51 PM

    hate to see E.Berry out – love the way he plays the game… Still I can’t say the play was “dirty”. Berry saw Johnson coming and tried to hop over him. He just didn’t get out of the way fast enough. In this case, if it was from behind or a point where Berry didn’t see him coming – that’s dirty. But I don’t see it in this case. Play on players.

  27. Green Monkey says: Sep 12, 2011 3:52 PM

    Defender legitimately tries to tackle a quarterback at the knees? (Pollard/Brady) Fines, new rules, general hand-wringing throughout the league about player safety.

    Offensive player who is too scared/not trained to make a proper block and ends a guy’s season by diving at his knees? Oh well.

  28. sasquash69 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:53 PM

    It wasn’t cheap, but a tinker bell block all the way. Man up Stevie and smack heads you sissy.

  29. skoobyfl says: Sep 12, 2011 3:53 PM

    Yeah, if Berry makes the tackle & it changes the outcome of a game on a legal play then was it a good block? Football is a man’s sport & very physical, if it’s legal & help you win then what is the problem?

  30. bobwsc says: Sep 12, 2011 3:53 PM

    can you just go by ‘Steve’ already? the donkey from The Waterboy really made that name legit; no need for the ‘ie’ on the end.

  31. stanmackley says: Sep 12, 2011 3:53 PM

    if this is your definition of a cheap shot then i guess you will only be happy watching soccer.

  32. AlanSaysYo says: Sep 12, 2011 3:54 PM

    The street goes both ways. Ask Trent Green about the dangers of throwing a cut block. He may actually be able to remember enough to tell you about it.

  33. dapackrepeat says: Sep 12, 2011 3:55 PM

    Great block, better result. The road for the Packers got easier yesterday…..LOL.

  34. stanmackley says: Sep 12, 2011 3:57 PM

    this is also how about 99% of corner’s and safety’s are coached on how to tackle rb’s and te’s.

  35. kingofthenorth92 says: Sep 12, 2011 3:57 PM

    6 rings I didn’t see you yesterday in the Ravens 35-Steelers 7 post. Do you care to add anything without the phrase “6 rings” at the end of every single one of your posts??

  36. depotnator says: Sep 12, 2011 3:58 PM

    The strange thing is that the NFL.com video shows a completely different play where Berry’s leg collapsed from non-contact. Michael Lombardi said it was a non-contact ACL injury. So the Chiefs are now claiming the ACL was injured during an earlier play?

  37. mistersmith22 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:01 PM

    I played TE (never anything that mattered though) and I know that blocking downfield I’d never go for a guy’s legs…that’s just bad technique, if the guy sees you a high-step can get him right out of your path, and besides, this is football — if you want to hit the guy hit the guy, get your arms up in his chest and blow him off his feet. You need to run through him and make another block, and you can’t do that if you’re lying on the ground. Plus, in this case Berry probably COULDN’T see Johnson, and the end zone was less than four yards away, so a quick shot to the shoulder from Johnson would have altered his angle enough to effectively take Berry out of the play.

    BUT, look at what Johnson did, then watch every single cornerback making a tackle on every single running back. ALL of them go for the knees, that’s just the way a guy weighing 200 pounds or less takes someone out. Baltimore’s DBs yesterday were the only ones that I noticed using “proper” hit-em-high-and-wrap-em-up technique. The Cowboys’ corners especially, they’re little dudes and not particularly physical, if they can’t grab a shin they can’t make a stop. So if throwing yourself at a guy’s knees was so terribly dangerous, most running backs would have torn ACLs every year.

    Johnson could have done something different, and I’d like to think most players would have, but, bottom line, he was just playing football.

  38. kylexitron says: Sep 12, 2011 4:01 PM

    from the looks of the chiefs, berry’s probably better off relaxing at home this season. Get a head start on what the rest of his team will be doing come playoff time.

    Talk about a step backwards. I remember watching the chiefs open last season with an impressive win at home over the chargers; this season they get utterly destroyed by the Bills…THE BILLS!

  39. eaglesfan290 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:01 PM

    johnnyjagfan says:Sep 12, 2011 3:44 PM

    Legal hit in a year after the most pro-player-safety CBA?

    Players don’t apparently want to see the cut block go.
    _________________________________

    IT’s Ironic after the most player safety CBA how many guys are getting hurt!

    When you don’t have an offseason, you have training camp cut in half, no offseason conditioning program, half of practices are walk throughs, and a lot of guys come back out of shape this is what you get.

    I’m not saying Berry was out of shape………but the STATS DON’T LIE a fair amount of the guys getting hurt basically just got thrown into REAL FOOTBALL out of shape.

  40. bgloalcdk says: Sep 12, 2011 4:02 PM

    legal and cheap are two different things. ask stevie johnson if he would like to be blocked like that. still don’t know about legal anyway, looks to me like he dropped the head and led with the helmet.

  41. joshh967 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:02 PM

    A difficult call. No one wants to see someone get injured. Most of the time if your a WR, the DB is going to be stronger than you. You can go the hinds ward route and leave your feet on blocks and be called dirty…or go the Stevie route and go low and be called dirty. If he tries to lock up Mr. Berry there, I think he would’ve been put on his back.

    It’s a shame to see Berry go down and I wish him the best but it’s football and these things happen unfortunately.

  42. depotnator says: Sep 12, 2011 4:02 PM

    “Thus, even though Johnson is unlikely to be fined, Johnson could be subject to scorn from his peers.”

    Once again this website is advocating that a perfectly legal hit should be scorned. Let’s rerun all the criticism against Suh that eminated from this site but resulted in no additional fines against him. PFT takes matters a step further than even Goodell.

  43. bvolke says: Sep 12, 2011 4:04 PM

    Is this coming from the same team that tore Tom Brady’s ACL a few years back?

  44. nikkodawg says: Sep 12, 2011 4:10 PM

    So what, a low hit ends this guys year. I feel bad for the guy but if the hit was high, one of them could have a career ending head or neck injury. If you don’t like the physicality (not sure if that’s even a word but whatever) of football, don’t play or watch.

  45. balewsquare says: Sep 12, 2011 4:17 PM

    dapackrepeat says:
    Sep 12, 2011 3:55 PM
    Great block, better result. The road for the Packers got easier yesterday…..LOL.
    ——————————————–

    I’m a Bears fan and I respect the Packers. I know all of their fans aren’t like this (obviously), but I’ve seen a lot of comments like this lately (not even sure, could be the same guy)…but why? Who wishes serious injuries to other humans? Some people don’t like Peyton Manning, but admit the league is better with him in it. Injuries are part of the game, but come on man.

  46. dubby311 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:18 PM

    I played TE in college and I would cut block and do whatever I could in the rules of the game to help my team win. That is a great block and legal, this is football, injuries happen, thats why they get paid to play a game. Question: does anyone really know how to cut block without leading with your head? Know the game before you comment on it.

  47. balewsquare says: Sep 12, 2011 4:18 PM

    oooo I hope I didn’t inadvertently use the espn saying at the end of my post. Yuck. Not intended.

  48. jca6610 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    I was in Arrowhead yesterday watching this. Berry got hurt on the play in the video. He tried to come back and the knee just gave way on the non contact play.

    It seems that it is a legal hit and Johnson shouldn’t be fined, but it just looks like a cheap shot. The game is so fast, but it really looks like Johnson could have got to Berry in time to hit him higher. Every time a player takes a hit like this, they almost always say it is a dirty play.

  49. rabidbillsfan says: Sep 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    All of you “Technique Gurus’s” out there need to brush up on your skills. Berry was ahead of SJ, therefore a true, shoulder to shoulder block/bump, would have been a clip. Cut blocks are legal as long as the player is not engaged. Also, have you ever watched a kick return for a touchdown? 9 times out of 10 a block just like this occurs. Also, to echo a statment from a previous poster, Berry finished the series on that “Torn ACL”. It wasn’t dirty, cheap, or anything like that. It was football, ask Stevie if he would block him the same way again, and I would be dissapointed if he would answer otherwise. This is just a Team trying to point the finger elsewhere after getting beat up.

  50. fjtardy says: Sep 12, 2011 4:19 PM

    Defensive backs regularly make tackles on tight ends, receivers, and running backs using a similar technique. That said, helmet to knee at 90 degree angle while cleats are in the grass = torn ACL. A legal hit maybe, but that’s still a dirty play.

  51. eslaught says: Sep 12, 2011 4:20 PM

    The fact that the video has “Goin for yo knees” written over it makes it lose all credibility in my eyes. Blocks like that are made all season by those who don’t go high. its an outrage when it happens to a good player, but someone on special teams… not so much. he shouldn’t be fined or suspended for playing by the rules. if he went high everyone would jump down his throat for trying to decapitate berry. johnson can’t win in this situation and should not (like most athletes) be using tweeter to argue with a “fan”

  52. quannumkid says: Sep 12, 2011 4:21 PM

    Within the rules, and anyone saying he was “too scared and/or untrained” to throw a “real” block, understand that a cut block is a real block. Offensive linemen do it all the time. WRs are taught to do it because of how effective it is. If/when the league decides all cut blocks are illegal (they’re already illegal if the player is already engaged) then this would be dirty.

    People get hurt in this game because it’s violent by nature. This is nothing but sour grapes.

  53. drexelvol says: Sep 12, 2011 4:22 PM

    “There’s nothing illegal about diving at a guy’s knees in the open field.”

    Not correct, you specifically can’t to it to a QB.

  54. jimmysimpson55 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:24 PM

    Stevie is like a Democrat. He thinks if he does not call a cheap shot a cheap shot, then it won’t be a cheap shot.

  55. crazybeardedjack says: Sep 12, 2011 4:25 PM

    It was a non-contact injury. I’ve seen the film about 25 times today. It had nothing to do with Johnson’s block. Get your facts straight PFT!

  56. quannumkid says: Sep 12, 2011 4:26 PM

    Also, hey PFT: stop making stories out of nothing.

  57. mrvikingsfan11 says: Sep 12, 2011 4:28 PM

    You all have no clue, watch NFL.com, his torn ACL happened when no one touched him!!!!! He turned on a play and his leg just collapsed from turning wrong, Steve had nothing to do with it!!!!!!!

  58. somekat says: Sep 12, 2011 4:28 PM

    What is amaing is this. The philly v st louis game, trent Cole is knocked off his feet. He keep going on hands and knees, and hits Bradford below the knee (not on it, well below it). Bradford still gets the throw off, but it’s a 15 yard penalty. (Bradford is in the pocket, where you expect to get hit)
    Johnson blindsides a guy (look at the video, Berry never was, or never is looking at Johnson before he dives at him), in the open field, and goes low on him (right on the side of the knee), and actually does hurt him (obviously, the human knee is not made to take the force of a grown man flying through the air on it’s side), and that is not a penalty?
    The NFL is doing a bang up job of ruining their own sport with all these “protect the offense, defensive players are on their own” rules

  59. scudbot says: Sep 12, 2011 4:31 PM

    dapackrepeat, ugly comment and not appreciated. Why on earth would this have anything to do with the Packers anyway?

  60. juiceboxsupply says: Sep 12, 2011 4:40 PM

    If he doesn’t get hurt, people would be praising a receiver for making a great down field block. Unfortunate result, but definitely not dirty

  61. r00tabaga says: Sep 12, 2011 4:46 PM

    Was it dirty!? Are U kidding me? Seriously people, there are some stupid people posting here today. It is very unfortunate to lose this young star for the year, BUT it was clearly a football play…a legal play…a physical play in a physical game. Chiefs ended Brady’s year and they should know better about these type of things.
    Injuries happen on almost every play folks. Cut blocks are taught and I think it was a better choice than blocking Berry w/his arms. Berry woulda tossed him.

  62. veistran says: Sep 12, 2011 4:47 PM

    Its pretty clearly clipping if you ask me, he gets him from behind and cut blocking from behind is clipping.

  63. radrntn says: Sep 12, 2011 4:49 PM

    sorry for the chiefs…that kid is a stud…being so young he should have no problem healing.

  64. juiceboxsupply says: Sep 12, 2011 4:51 PM

    After watching the video and realizing that there was no injury on the play, how the hell is Johnson getting blamed for this? God clearly does not like KC

  65. igeorgiaboy says: Sep 12, 2011 4:53 PM

    To be honest the play was not dirty … The cut block has been in the game for a long time it isn’t new. Yes, it can’t tear someone’s knee up but the technique for defending a cut block is to use your hands and push his helmet into the dirt when a player dives at your legs.. Hopping over him is the more athletic approach, but more times than not you will end up on the ground such as Berry did.. People don’t like cut blocks but option based football is built off of it. Go look at the teams who run the option effectively Ga Tech, Navy, Air Force… Cut blocks throughout the game. Granted that this is an NFL it’s still football, tough break for Berry, not a bad play by Johnson

  66. managod777 says: Sep 12, 2011 5:08 PM

    IF IT’S LEGAL IT’S LEGAL. PLAYERS RATHER GET HIT HIGH THAN LOW. MAYBE MASTER GOODELL WILL DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE IT. THE NINERS O-LINE BLOCKED LIKE THAT THROUGH THE 80′S AND THEY WERE OK. STEVIE MIGHT WANT TO THINK ABOUT BEING MORE HUMBLE SO HE DOESN’T ATTRACT TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO HIMSELF. CLOSE YOUR TWITTER ACCT, B!

  67. r00tabaga says: Sep 12, 2011 5:13 PM

    He got hurt a few plays after the Stevie block. People, watch the video again. Berry braces for the cut block. He wasn’t blindsided like some of you want to believe. It wasn’t helmet to helmet. It wasn’t illegal and he won’t get fined. This is ridiculous now.

  68. andrewfbrowne says: Sep 12, 2011 5:50 PM

    He did not get hurt on the play in question. He got hurt in open space on another play. Saying it was the cumulative effect of Johnson’s block does not work either, because if that is what you are spinning that is like saying some guy from UGA, Alabama or Auburn are responsible because they did the same thing when he was a Tennessee or someone he played last year as a rookie. It was unfortunate, but it happens every game.

    I can say this though, it didn’t look like it had anything to do with training camp this year, because the Chiefs did not look they did much at all in camp this year.

  69. jnused0269 says: Sep 12, 2011 5:55 PM

    This is football! Injuries happen, I have never heard so much complaining about a block from a wide receiver on a safety! When a defensive player head hunts on a receiver going over the middle it doesnt draw as much criticism. When guys make crack back block on kick/punt return no one complains. A scrawny wide receiver blocks low and a safety in the open field who saw him coming with no other players 10 yards around him and its cheap!? I call it a good block with an unfortunate turn out for E Berry. Its part of the game. Running backs block low on LB or DL who come in on blitz pick ups and DB’s tackle low on RB’s. If you have never played football then dont comment. you are taught to tackle lower and gain leverage. Its the same for blocking. You need to gain leverage and if thats blocking in the thigh/knee area thats alright with me.

  70. polishrod says: Sep 12, 2011 6:02 PM

    mistersmith22 says:
    Sep 12, 2011 4:01 PM
    I played TE (never anything that mattered though) and I know that blocking downfield I’d never go for a guy’s legs…that’s just bad technique,

    ——-

    And now we all know why you never played anywhere that mattered, Chief.

    The only thing you should know is that if you learned how to properly cut block in the open field, you’d have been a better player.

    Cut blocks are VERY important in the short passing game, as well as in the open field blocking game. It’s way easier to hold and to BE SEEN holding in the open field, why even take the chance?

  71. vols84 says: Sep 12, 2011 6:02 PM

    I think that Stevie took out his frustration of always losing to Tennessee in college on Eric Berry. 26 years in a row for the Wildcats to hear Rocky Top at the end of the game.

    The block came on a play where the ball was no where near Stevie Johnson. I could see the block if the play were ran to Stevie’s side.

    Oh well. Chiefs were going to be awful this year anyway. EB will be back next year, built better than ever. And Tennessee will still dominate the Bluegrass state this year.

  72. jpmelon says: Sep 12, 2011 6:29 PM

    He didn’t get injured on that play…..so what the hell is everyone talking about?

  73. 619boltz says: Sep 12, 2011 6:34 PM

    Wow … Chargers will test ya chiefs…

  74. mistersmith22 says: Sep 12, 2011 6:58 PM

    polishrod: like I said, the only thing more important than making the first block is being in position for a second, and you can do that if you’re lying on the ground. Cut blocking might work for linemen, because after they make their block the play is beyond them, but a guy like Johnson should have thought about keeping himself in the play after blocking Berry.

    For example, if Kuhn had laid himself out making a block on a kickoff on Thursday, he wouldn’t have been there to keep Cobb from falling down, and a 108-yard TD would have been a modest, average return…and who knows, that could have meant that whole game.

    So sure, sometimes people cut block. Real football players, though, want to play through the whistle instead of putting themselves on the ground.

  75. billsfan1 says: Sep 12, 2011 8:17 PM

    These are the same chiefs fans who defended the hit on Tom Brady a few short years ago…Mr pot I’d like to introduce u to my friend Mr kettle

  76. joetoronto says: Sep 12, 2011 8:18 PM

    Turn off the lights, the party’s over.

  77. stanmackley says: Sep 15, 2011 6:39 PM

    berry got injured after the steve johnson block. his knee buckled sideways in the open field. the video is right here http://i.imgur.com/mIx3k.gif sorry there is no superimposed titling saying “goin fo yo knees” which is completely ridiculous.

    all you haters that said some disgusting things need to make sure you have all the facts before going nuts on this kid.

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