Bill Belichick Defends Mac Jones After Haason Reddick Says QB Made a ‘Dirty Play’

AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones appeared to intentionally injure Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns during a first-quarter play in Sunday’s 24-6 win, but his coach thinks it was a misunderstanding.

“I think he thought Burns had the ball,” Bill Belichick told The Greg Hill Show on Monday, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

The incident came after Burns sacked Jones, causing a fumble. While other players went after the loose ball, Jones grabbed the pass-rusher’s right ankle and twisted it.

Burns was helped off the field with an injury.

“Definitely thought it was a dirty play,” Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick told reporters after the game. “I actually saw and witnessed the play while it was happening. At first it felt like he was trying trip or kick Burns. And the next thing you know I saw him tugging on Burns’ ankle. I thought it was completely dirty. Hopefully, it’s something the league addresses.”

On Monday, Jones told Merloni & Fauria of WEEI that he believe Burns had the ball (h/t Michael Hurley of CBS Boston):

“After I got hit pretty hard, I didn’t really know exactly what was going on. 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.”

The NFL will reportedly review the play, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, which could lead to a fine against Jones. 

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