GREEN BAY – Clay Matthews was watching Monday Night Football when he saw his friend and former University of Southern California teammate Brian Cushing go down, and it didn’t take the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker long to reach for his iPhone and share his thoughts.
Where is the NFL's protection on blocks below the waist like that on Cushing. Double standard!— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) October 9, 2012
If the NFL really wants to increase player safety, start protecting players on BOTH sides of the ball.— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) October 9, 2012
Two days later, and with the Houston Texans having placed Cushing on season-ending injured reserve with the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his left knee because of New York Jets offensive lineman Matt Slauson’s cut block, Matthews was still very much standing by his Tweets in advance of Sunday night’s game between the Packers and Texans at Reliant Stadium.
Speaking in a conference call with Houston-area reporters Wednesday, Matthews said there is a double standard where offensive players are protected from defensive players but not the other way around.
“Obviously, I was a little frustrated because Brian is a good friend of mine, but I meant what I said or what I Tweeted, that I think it’s time the defense start getting some protection overall when so much emphasis has been placed on the offense,” Matthews said. “I’m not saying that play was right or wrong, but ultimately I think there’s some steps that need to be taken, and I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Matthews, who reclaimed the NFL lead with eight sacks when the Texans’ J.J. Watt lost a sack upon further film review by Elias Sports Bureau, was reminded how much protection offensive players receive when teammate Nick Perry learned Wednesday that he’d been fined $15,000 for his hit on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck last Sunday.
“I know a lot of emphasis had been put on head protection and head trauma,” Matthews said. “But we can’t neglect other injuries that are major contributors of people falling out of games and missing the remainder of seasons.”
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