Jon Gruden, the Super Bowl-winning coach turned Monday Night Football commentator, said on Mike & Mike that he thinks going full speed until the whistle blows is part of football, and that means a linebacker drilling a receiver over the middle is part of football.
“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Gruden said. “It was a vicious hit, but not to be politically correct, you’re supposed to run to the ball. We used to tell our receivers, if you want to run an inside breaking route, if you want to fight for yardage after the catch, you better be careful because these defensive players, they’re on the hunt. I think some of these receivers that are running these quick screens and these inside breaking RPOs [run/pass options], they need to get down, personally. I’m not blaming Davante Adams but I think there’s two ways to look at it. I’ve always coached energy, hustling, rushing to the pile, and if it is wiggling, you do hit it. Because guys are fighting for yardage, and sometimes you’ve got to give up the ball because of one inch. Inches matter. That’s why they measure first downs. That’s why they have a crew down there with those chains. So I’m a little sensitive. I thought Trevathan made a great play. Obviously, what he’s hitting, the surface, below the neck, all those things, I’m totally agreeing on. But I thought Trevathan made a heck of a play and unfortunately a man got hurt.”
Derrick Brooks, the Hall of Fame linebacker who played for Gruden for seven years in Tampa Bay, was the person who reduced Trevathan’s suspension from two games to one on appeal. Brooks and Gruden both come from a time, not long ago, when a linebacker lowering his helmet into an opposing receiver’s head was just part of the game. The NFL wants to put that part of the game into the distant past.