HOUSTON – Houston Texans rookie safety DJ Swearinger showed remorse for a hit he made on Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller, one which forced him to leave the game early.
“I felt bad, you know, but at the same time it’s part of the game,” Swearinger said after the game. “It’s playing within the rules. I felt a little grief for him, but at the same time it’s football.”
In the second quarter, Swearinger went in for the tackle on Keller after he caught a pass. The rookie hit Keller low. Replays showed the tight end’s knee buckle. He was carted off the field.
It was revealed on Sunday that Keller tore his ACL, MCL , PCL and dislocated his knee. He will miss the season and possibly more. For his part, Swearinger never had the idea to knock him out of the game or seriously injure him.
“I never go to hit someone to injure them at all,” Swearinger said after the game. “I told him good luck after the hit, but you know I was just playing within the rules. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
"You just don’t want to see those things happen," Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said on Sunday. "All the targets are from the shoulders down in football now and D.J. was playing an out-route and reacted to an in-route and just reacting and making a tackle and unfortunately got caught in a horrible situation. You just feel very bad for the young man. You don’t want to see that happen at all.”
The incident will surely bring up the debate on how the league handle hits on receivers. The past couple of years, the NFL has cracked down on high, helmet to helmet hits, many of which draw either fines or even a suspension.
In this case, Swearinger says he was aware of the rules, and is making sure he doesn’t get penalized.
“It’s a mindset thing, you just have to know you can’t hit him up high,” Swearinger said. “You have to hit low, like I said, I’m sorry that it happened, but with the rules, I had to go low so that’s something that I’m going to start doing now.”
Swearinger finished the night with 3 tackles, 2 solo.
The Texans won the game 24-17. They host the Saints on August 25th.