Houston (CBS Houston) – Final verdict, Texans’ D.J. Swearinger’s hit on Dolphins’ Dustin Keller was unfortunate, but legal.
The NFL V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said on the NFL Network Wednesday that Houston’s rookie safety Swearinger performed a low but legal hit on Keller’s knee.
“It is a legal hit,” Blandino said. “It’s an unfortunate result, something that the Competition Committee will continue to look at, as we do all injuries during the season. But it is a legal hit.”
Blandino said that, “Keller is considered a defenseless player.” According to the NFL Rule Book, prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:
(1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him; and
(2) Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline” parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless player’s body.
On the play in question Swearinger’s low shot to the knee area would be considered legal.
The Competition Committee may look to add rules prohibiting low contact, but any new rules protecting players’ knees will come too late for Keller.
Follow Julie Takahashi on Twitter: @Julie_Takahashi