Browns safety T.J. Ward hit Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the knee on Sunday, causing Gronkowski to be carted off the field with what is feared to be a torn ACL. After the game, Ward said he felt bad about it, but hitting Gronkowski low is what the NFL wants.
“If I would’ve hit him up high, there’s a chance I was going to get a fine,” Ward said, via the Boston Globe.
Ward says NFL defensive backs are put in a tough position by the league office.
“It’s kind of being caught between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “It’s a decision you have to make, but you have to follow the rules at the same time. When they set the rule, everyone knew what was going to happen. This can happen if you have those types of situations. It’s pretty much inevitable, and they forced our hand with this one.”
Ward said he prayed for Gronkowski, but he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
“But I’ve got to play football, man. I’ve got to play football,” Ward said.
And the way the NFL wants defensive backs to play football is to hit low.