Mac Jones responds to Panthers calling him dirty: ‘I thought he had the ball’

"I didn’t mean to hurt anybody or anything like that."

Mac Jones
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones passed against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Mac Jones defended himself on Monday after a Panthers player called him out for a “dirty” play in the Patriots‘ 24-6 win on Sunday.

After he fumbled the ball following a big sack by Brian Burns in the first quarter, Jones reached out and grabbed Burns’ leg — pulling down the defensive end by the ankle. Burns appeared to be in some pain, but he continued playing.

After the game, Carolina linebacker Haason Reddick expressed his displeasure.

“I definitely thought it was a dirty play,” Reddick said. “I actually saw and witnessed the play as it was happening, as I was running, him seeing them over there. First of all, he was trying to trip or kick Burns, and then next thing you notice, I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle.


“I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something that the league addresses.”

In an appearance on WEEI’s Merloni and Fauria, Jones said he thought Burns had the ball, which is why he tried to bring him down.

“After I got hit pretty hard, I didn’t really know exactly what was going on,” Jones said. “I thought he had the ball and it was my job to try and make the tackle. That was pretty much it. And you know, obviously when you get up and you see the ball is actually 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 him and make the play. Because you know, I didn’t really know what was going on.”

Bill Belichick said he believed the same. Asked whether he was surprised by the Panthers’ reaction to the play, his response was predictable.

“I don’t know,” Belichick said. “Just telling you what I saw on the play.”

The NFL will look into the play, although the worst Jones could face reportedly is a fine.


“Hopefully they see it how I saw it in the game and they don’t look too much more into it,” Jones said. “Because that’s what it was.”


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