NFL to study hits like Swearinger's

NFL to study hits like Swearinger's
August 28, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Dustin Keller is out for the season after getting hit by D.J. Swearinger on Saturday night.

(USA Today Images)

D.J. Swearinger's hit on Dustin Keller on Aug. 17 was legal. For now.

According to the Associated Press, the NFL will be watching hits to the knees of defenseless players this season and might possibly extend rules in an attempt to prevent those hits in the future.

The NFL's chief of football operations, Ray Anderson, told the AP if those types of hits are "becoming a problem," the league might do something about it.

"We are always looking at plays that may elevate themselves and we do include in that category hits on defenseless players," Anderson said. "And certainly the hits to knees to players who have not had the opportunity to protect themselves or are not looking in the direction of where the hit comes from — we have had a couple hits whereby a player was hit below (or at) the knees."

Swearinger's hit on Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller, ended Keller's season. And Vikings' defensive tackle Kevin Williams has a hyperextended knee because of a hit to his knee.

After Swearinger's hit on Keller, he said he hit him low because he wanted to avoid a fine he might receive if he hit Keller high. The NFL has rules in place to prevent hits to the head of defenseless receivers.

Anderson revealed that when the NFL outlawed hits to the neck and head, there "was some concern  players might lower their targets and might include knees and below."

"I've seen the play and you know, it was just a freak accident," Swearinger said on Aug. 19. "I was just going out and making a tackle and his leg just sort of got stuck. It's a freak accident and I'm sure he will be back."

Swearinger said the criticism from his hit won't affect the way he plays.

"It's over," Gary Kubiak said last week. "The kid did nothing wrong. It's over."

It's over for Swearinger ... but maybe not for the league.