The Carolina Panthers appeared to have lost defensive end Charles Johnson to a significant injury early in the third quarter of Monday night’s victory over the New England Patriots.
Johnson had beat New England tackle Marcus Cannon off the snap and was trying to stop a running play from LeGarrette Blount. Cannon whiffed on his block and hit the turf. As he did, he swung his left leg back over his body and connected squarely with the right knee of Johnson as his leg was planted on the ground.
The play by Cannon is illegal and will probably draw a fine this week. However, there wasn’t a flag thrown on the play. Johnson was helped from the field and eventually carted to the locker room for further evaluation. He was actually able to return to the field and was back in the game on defense for the final drive of the game for Carolina.
According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, Johnson said after the game that Cannon sought him out on the field at the conclusion of the game to apologize for the play. Breer also reported the injury was a mild MCL sprain.
It was a dirty play that could have left Johnson much worse off than the injury turned out to be. It’s a nice gesture by Cannon to apologize for the play.