Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins officially put tight end Dustin Keller on injured reserve after he suffered a nearly complete destruction of his knee in last Saturday’s game against the Houston Texans.
Keller caught a pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill and when he turned, Texans defensive back D.J Swearinger went low for his hit and drove right through Tannehill’s knee. Keller suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament, and posterior cruciate ligament along with a dislocated kneecap.
Swearinger said he went to tackle Keller low because he was afraid he was going to draw a flag for unnecessary roughness or targeting if he had tried to tackle Keller high. That explanation is not sitting well with Keller’s teammates on the Dolphins.
“It’s crap,” wide receiver Brian Hartline told WQAM Tuesday morning. “I mean, I think that, me personally, if you’re telling me, ‘Oh, I’m so worried about going high or hurt (ing) the head,’ you consciously went low then, is what you’re trying to tell me.”
Hartline continued, “I have a lot of good pros on my team, and from what they have said to me is that there is no place for that in the game today.”
The issue of hitting low or high comes as the NFL is focusing more on trying to protect players from concussions. But, while the focus on the head has been sharpened, its left players’ knees vulnerable as defensive players try to avoid penalties.
It’s an issue the NFL will have to deal with in the coming weeks as the regular season ramps up and especially if more players suffer leg injuries as the referees focus on watching for head shots.