Defensive tackle Calais Campbell sent a text to Ryan Tannehill apologizing for injuring his knee, the Arizona Cardinals said Monday.
“In football, injuries happen too often,” Campbell said. “You try and eliminate them from the game. It’s never on purpose. You are playing as hard as you can and bad things happen sometimes. I’m glad it wasn’t as bad as it originally seemed. I’m definitely hoping he comes back this year. They’re a good team and there is a lot riding on it. So I’m praying for him.”
Campbell was engaged with Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 26-23 Dolphins victory when Campbell fell into Tannehill’s left knee, which had been planted on the ground.
Tannehill was immediately feared to have a torn ACL, but coach Adam Gase said Monday that it’s a sprain that should not require surgery. Gase is unsure if Tannehill will play again this season.
“It definitely wasn’t on purpose,” said Campbell, from the University of Miami. “I’ve never been that kind of guy. I never will be that kind of guy.”
This isn’t the first time Campbell has drawn ire for hitting a quarterback low. About a month ago, he was fined $18,231 by the NFL for a hit on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton. In both cases, no flag was thrown.
Sunday, Albert was critical of Campbell.
“Well, I was the one blocking the man,” he said. “It looked like it was illegal to me.”
Monday, Albert said game officials told him he pushed Campbell into Tannehill. Albert disagreed.
Gase sounded more forgiving, saying of Campbell, “He’s never been a guy that I would say is a dirty player. I’d be shocked to say that he did that intentionally.”
After watching the play again, Gase said, “I don’t know if he could’ve caught himself. As a big man going fast, the direction he was heading, that would’ve been very tough.”
But former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart blasted Campbell on the radio show NFL On TuneIn.
“I would put a suspension down on it,” Stewart said. “With no pay. Because this is his second time going at the quarterback’s legs.”
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