New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan defended guard Matt Slauson's injury-inducing block on Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing in an ESPN radio interview Wednesday morning. Slauson has been criticized for his Monday-night hit that caused Cushing to tear his ACL and put him on the shelf for the rest of the season. Ryan said the play was clean:
"What I saw on that tape, I don't remember that specific play, but I would never question our guys as far as trying to injure someone or try and do something not in the confinement of the rules."
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, who played with Cushing at USC, expressed his displeasure with the play Tuesday night on Twitter, saying there's a double standard with rules protecting offensive and defensive players:
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
Where is the NFL's protection on blocks below the waist like that on Cushing. Double standard!— Clay Matthews III (@ClayMatthews52) October 9, 2012
Nevertheless, Ryan is sticking by his player:
"I would have to say I would definitely question (the flack Slauson is getting), I never saw anything specifically I was just watching our game tape. I'll say this -- we got rolled up a few times in our game, and sometimes in this game you gotta be fortunate to avoid some injury. I don't know what happened in Brian's case. Obviously he's a tremendous football player and I hate to see any player suffer a serious injury."