Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is the player who launched himself into the leg of Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, causing the star’s season-ending injury. This led to fans, media, and even some players criticizing the defender for his dangerous tackling technique. On Thursday, Fitzpatrick spoke out to defend himself.
“I would say, one: they've never tackled Nick Chubb before if they're telling me to go high,” Fitzpatrick said of his detractors, per NFL Network correspondent James Palmer. “Two: What I seen was it opened up, it's goal line. I didn't see anybody on him. I made the decision as soon as I seen the hole open up and him in the hole to go low. You can tell me how to tackle him low but it's a fast game. It's a game (where) you make decisions in milliseconds. Can't really control what happens after you choose to make your decision. I already chose to go low. Somebody got on his back when I was going low, and what happened happened. There's nothing I really would do differently.”
Fitzpatrick also said the injury to the Browns' RB was “very unfortunate” and that “Nick Chubb's a great player. He makes the game a lot better when he's playing. Just hope for a speedy recovery.”
This defense by Minkah Fitzpatrick defense of the reckless abandon he played with that led to the Nick Chubb injury is the same one often trotted out by defensive players when they seriously hurt an offensive player, be it with a low tackle or a shot to the head.
For those who didn’t play football at a high level, Fitzpatrick is right. It is hard to know what that is like. That said, if the NFL doesn’t figure out a way to better regulate too-high and too-low hits, some of the biggest stars in the game will continue to suffer serious injuries, and that’s unfortunate and bad for the league.