By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 6th, 2012 at 11:04 am in Oakland Raiders.
Was curious to get Carson Palmer’s reaction to what’s going on in New Orleans, keeping in mind he was knocked out of his first playoff game on a knee-high tackle which is now illegal.
With Palmer out early after Kimo von Oelhoffen came in low and inflicted a serious knee injury (ACL, MCL, patellar tendon), Pittsburgh went on to a 31-17. Palmer wrote the injury off as simply the breaks of the game.
“Football’s football,” Palmer said. “Sometimes things just happen. You land wrong, in a weird position, a guy gets pushed into you. You go into a wall. There are so many crazy things that can happen in such a fast amount of time. Sometimes things are just freak accidents.”
As for the Saints and Williams, regardless of what was said in Sean Pamphilon’s audio via Yahoo!’s Mike Silver, Palmer said, “I played against the Saints a handful of times when all these things were giong on and I was hit a ton of times by their defense and never felt anything was a broken rule or anything like that. I remember they were hard, they were fast and they were physical. I never once thought anything illegal or that there was a bounty on any player including myself.”
More Palmer: “It’s a physical, violent sport. The play’s over when somebody gets knocked to the ground. Injuries happen. Concussions happen. At the end of the day, it’s hard to hit somebody and give them a concussion on purpose. The game happens so fast and guys come from so many different angles.”
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly isn’t overly concerned about Williams’ theatrics or about what was supposedly said in a closed locker room.
“If you don’t play ball, you don’t understand,” Kelly said. “People don’t understand the culture of the game.”
Tough talk in the locker room aside, however, Kelly has a real problem with someone playing with intent to injure while on the field
“That’s definitely where you cross the line,” Kelly said. “You’re taking money out of your pocket and food out of your kids’ mouth. You don’t do that to anybody. You do that to me or somebody else, it’s going to come back on you twice as bad.
“You try and be as physical as you can out there. You have to do that to impose your will on somebody, but you can’t cross the line by going out there and trying to put somebody on the sideline.”
Asked if he thought anyone had ever deliberately tried to injure him during a game, Kelly said, “Tempers fly because people don’t like losing. It’s a macho thing. You don’t like to lose or get pushed around. But I’ve never been out there where I felt someone was trying to target me”
Kelly’s own ACL surgery after injuring his knee in the seventh game of the season?
“It was friendly fire. One of my own teammates,” Kelly said. “That’s how the game is. You can’t be worried about somebody hurting you or trying to hurt somebody because you won’t get nothing done that way.”
Silver has it nailed in his latest Yahoo! story when he writes of the NFL culture change.
Stuff that used to be acceptable simply isn’t anymore and never will be again, for the Raiders or anyone else.
Columnist Monte Poole referenced Al Davis’ favorite saying about the quarterback going down hard, which is actually one of the more mild statements of aggression in Raiders history.
During the NFL Network’s recap of the Raiders Super Bowl winning season in 1980, linebacker Matt Millen talked about how the Raiders dealt with 6-foot-8 wide Philadelphia wide receiver Harold Carmichael. Defensive coordinator Charlie Sumner told Millen, then a rookie, to level Carmichael the first time he came across the middle. Don’t worry about the penalty. So Millen obliged, picked up the personal foul, and Carmichael was a non-factor.
The late Jack Tatum wrote in his book “They Call Me Assassin” about giving points for “knockouts” and “limp-offs.”
With more being known each year about the long-term affects of the sport on the health of the competitors, the NFL can’t afford the kind of bad P.R. that goes along with the whole Saints issue. The league will always have its elements of violence and brutality, but the days of celebrating it are over.