Mac Jones Lands in Hot Water With Carolina Panthers

Getty Mac Jones

The New England Patriots’ Mac Jones landed in hot water with some members of the Carolina Panthers. After he was sacked by Panthers star edge rusher Brian Burns and fumbled during the Patriots’ 24-6 Week 9 win over the Panthers, Jones grabbed Burns’ ankle as the latter tried to go toward the loose ball.

Burns turned to break free, but Jones held on tight, which caused the former to suffer an ankle injury. Burns left the game momentarily, but returned only to be subbed out for good due to issues with the ankle.

Burns’ status for the Panthers’ Week 10 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals was unknown as of Tuesday, November 9. Some members of the Panthers called Jones’ actions dirty and it sounds as if Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was a bit bewildered by the Patriots rookie QB’s actions.

ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Patriots!

Rhule said this to reporters after the game:

I love Mac Jones. Tremendous competitor. I have no idea what was in his brain. I’m not here to talk about that, but I am here to defend our guys. Obviously, we can’t get guys hurt from something after the play. I don’t know what was in Mac’s head. My job on game day on the sidelines is to defend our players. What I don’t want to be is I don’t want to be the Carolina Panthers who everybody gets to hit out of bounds and horse-collar and turn their ankles late and nothing ever gets called. I look like a madman on the sidelines, but if that’s what it takes, I’m going to sit there and defend our players to the officials the entire game.

Here is a look at the play: 

Panthers linebacker Hasson Reddick called the play dirty. In a quote from Reddick captured by Grace Remington of Fox 46 News in Charlotte, there wasn’t much benefit of the doubt. 


ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Patriots!

Mac Jones Responds to Accusations of Dirty Play

Prior to the game, Jones indicated he knew Burns from their high school days and that the latter had sacked and taunted him before they were pros. That led to some thought that there is a rivalry between the two men.

On WEEI’s Merloni & Fauria, Jones was asked about the play on Monday morning following the game. He denied doing anything dirty and explained his actions.

Jones said:

After I got hit pretty hard. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought he had the ball, and it was my job to try and make the tackle — that’s pretty much it. Obviously when you get up and see the ball down the field a little bit more, it was just a bang-bang play and I didn’t mean to hurt anybody or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle and make the play.

The NFL had plans to look into the play to see if there was anything egregious, and they will also investigate any so-called rivalry. Jones’ response to that portion of the question was:

Like I said during the game, no one is out there during the game but the players. I thought this would happen. I had to make the tackle, so I did what I did in real-time. It kind of is what it is…he’s a great player, and he’s been that way for a long time. He’s great at Florida State, and then obviously played well in the NFL, and has done a great job. I have no hard feelings against him or anyone on the team, and they have a great defense — statistically they’re really good. When you get a chance to go against a good defense, it’s always a lot of fun…I was young in high school, I don’t even know if he knew who I was at that time. There’s no beef or anything like that. Hopefully they see it how I saw it in the game, and they don’t look too much more into it because that’s what it was.

Does it Appear As Though Mac Jones Was Trying to Injure Brian Burns?

After watching the play several times, it doesn’t appear as though Jones intended to hurt Burns. Many would call his grabbing of Burns’ ankle a heady move after he was just destroyed by a sack and fumbled.

It’s hard to imagine within that split second, Jones could consciously attempt to twist Burns’ ankle. In fact, the torque on the ankle likely comes from Burns instinctively turning to free himself from Jones’ grasp.

It all happens too fast to place a blame on either man.


Read More