Ed Werder | ESPN
The NFL is reviewing San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks for possible discipline for his illegal hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a blow that seemed a textbook example of the league rule prohibiting defensive players from hitting the quarterback in the head and neck, a league source said.
Brooks was penalized for a personal foul, which negated a sack-fumble and enabled the Saints to maintain possession for a game-tying field goal by Garrett Hartley in the fourth quarter. The Saints won the game 23-20 as Hartley made another field goal as time expired.
Brees described the hit as a clothes-line tackle with the initial contact taking place at the chest and going through his neck and chin as he went to the ground.
Brooks was fuming after the game, incredulous at the fact that he was penalized for the hit.
“I didn’t hit him with my hand or my helmet,” Brooks told reporters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I basically bear-hugged him. That’s just how football is played. I think this s— is bull—-. Football, the way they call stuff these days, it’s watered down. It ain’t real no more.”
Brees told ESPN that he doesn’t think the hit was malicious — or even intentional — but he believes it was a penalty.
As for San Francisco linebacker Navarro Bowman saying it all happened because Brees is a 5-foot quarterback, Brees told ESPN, “I guess sometimes it pays to be a midget.”
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that he thought Brooks’ hit was legal.
“When we grade a player, if he has a penalty, we give him a minus,” Harbaugh said, according to the team’s website. “We did not assign a minus on that play. Thought he made a great play, just didn’t get the result.”
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