I was already in the tunnel under the stadium when I heard he was injured on the last play of the Giants 16-7 win tonight, and I saw him walking gingerly toward the X-Ray room after the game with the trainers at his side. But he walked without a limp, both to that room and to the locker room.
And when he returned, he said he was “OK.”
In case you don't know, in the waining seconds of Thursday's fight, Chris Samuels was called for offensive holding on Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka appeared to hurt his ankle or leg on the play though, fortunately, he appears to be ok.
X-rays must've been negative. You never like to see a player get injured, especially at the very end of an already-over game. I don't like the Giants, but I don't will injury on even my rival teams or players. This is a game. When people get injured, it affects their livelihood. And while I applaud the violence of this game most of the time, I don't really want people to experience devastating and extended physical pain of the kind that comes from broken bones. Wind knocked out of you, walk it off? Cool. Shattered ribs? Not cool.
"Honestly, I thought it was a dirty play," Kiwanuka said. "There's no question about it, he was definitely beat. Instead of recovering or giving up or whatever options you have ... I don't think there's any place for that in the NFL."
"As an NFL player, there's going to be times when you're going to get beat," Kiwanuka said. "For a guy to turn around and ... basically he tackled me, after I beat him around the edge. It's uncalled for."
Samuels former teammate Antonio Pierce had a slightly different take:
"It shouldn't have happened, but it happened," LB Antonio Pierce said of the play. "Our guy is okay, he's healthy. That's all that matters right now. ... It's smart on (Samuels') behalf. No doubt. If David Diehl or Kareem (McKenzie) was in that position, I'd expect them to do the same thing. They could go about it a different way, maybe. I wouldn't want them to try to almost injure a guy and have him out for a couple of weeks. From that standpoint, that's disappointing, but I would expect our guys to protect Eli."
That's how Justin Tuck feels as well, emphasis added:
"I understand his reasons for doing it, I don't necessarily agree with it," Tuck added. "You're putting a player's health in the balance there, that's always going to be questionable. But I know Chris. He's not a guy like that (who would) try to take out another guy. It was just a bad judgment play."
I don't think we're going to get Redskins fans or players and Giants fans or players to agree one what it is that happened, exactly, as partisans for either team will see it however they want to see it. As I was drunk by the time this happened (what else do you do in a 9 point loss?) I don't remember seeing much of the actual play, but I do distinctly remember seeing Samuels standing near Kiwanuka immediately after, motioning towards the Giants sideline, and looking generally contrite over the incident. It kind of reminded me of Lawrence Taylor over Joe Theisman. At the time I wrote that it was unfortunate but that the manner Samuels acted afterwards certainly didn't appear to be that of a guy intentionally trying to injure another player.
I'm reluctant to bring up a similar incident in fear of establishing a damning pattern, but I think it speaks to Samuels as a player and provides an opportunity to quote others defending his character. You might recall that in December of last year, Samuels broke the leg of Antonio Garay:
The officials missed it and Samuels wasn't flagged on the play, but he was later fined $12,500.
How is this supposed to speak highly for Samuels? It was what he did afterwards that mattered, emphasis added:
Redskins offensive tackle Chris Samuels recently called Bears coach Lovie Smith to apologize for delivering an illegal chop block that ended defensive tackle Antonio Garay’s season...
“It’s not like he had to [call to apologize],” Smith said. “I know what type of football player he is. He’s not a dirty player or anything like that. But it says a lot about a guy who’s sorry for something that was unfortunate.”..
“It’s not something he tried to do on purpose,” Smith said. “Things like that happen in the game of football sometime.”
Similarly, Samuels apparently spoke with Tom Coughlin after the game, emphasis added again:
Added coach Tom Coughlin, "I spoke to (Samuels) after and he said, 'That wasn't intentional.'"
Chris Samuels has started 125 games to date in the National Football League
which is plenty of time for peers to compellingly level charges of persistent dirty play if indeed he is that kind of player. As far as I can tell, Samuels does not have a reputation as a dirty player. He's very well liked by teammates and when print is written about him, it's almost always in a positive light. I don't know Chris Samuels, but I've never had any reason to suspect he's a dirty player. And I am perfectly happy, unlike Kiwanuka, drawing the line between dirty plays and merely unfortunate ones at: Intent. A dirty play, in my mind, is one where a player either intends to injure or intends an act so reckless that injurious results are more likely than not to follow. I wish I had video of the incident in question, though am comfortable claiming from my (admittedly inebriated) recollection from the game, the play was far from so reckless that injury was a necessary result. And taking Samuels at his word, and the history, I very seriously doubt that Samuels intended to harm anyone on that play.
I trust that Samuels is not a dirty player. I am pleased Mathias Kiwanuka is uninjured. I don't fault Kiwanuka for being upset over the incident -- he's the one who damn near suffered a livelihood affecting injury, afterall -- but I respectfully disagree with his assertion that my offensive lineman is a dirty player.