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John Fox disputes Julius Thomas hit was 'dirtiest play'

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He puts his 35 years of coaching against Arians' 37, for what it's worth.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox does not agree with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians that the hit tight end Julius Thomas laid on Calais Campbell Sunday was one of the dirtiest plays he's ever seen.

Noting that his 35 years of experience falls short of Arians' 37, Fox simply stated that he did not believe the hit was quite as dirty as the Cardinals coach made it out to be. "I talked to him after the game," Fox said on Monday. "It's not the dirtiest play I've seen this year."

Still, Fox understands that the block, which injured Campbell, wasn't kosher. He communicated as much during his Monday media availability:

"It's not necessarily whether it was the right or wrong technique," Fox said. "Cut blocking is allowed in the National Football League and utilized by everybody in the league but you cannot have the tackle engage (the defender) and cut block at the same time -- it's called a chop block. But that in no way was intentional. (It's) never been coached by me or anybody on my staff or any player we have on our football team in four years.

"I believe that's probably our first chop block call in our tenure here over four years. It was a look that we had not seen much of; we weren't targeting anybody in particular. Calais was lined up at end and he spends most of his time inside. It was a three-man rush and we didn't communicate as well as we'd like. I never like to see any player injured, including an opponent's player. It cost us a 77-yard touchdown, so we're not coaching that."

Likewise, Thomas does not believe his actions were dirty and rejects the suggestion that he intentionally tried to hurt Campbell.

Here's a GIF of the play:


(We also have complete coverage of the incident in this StoryStream.)

While that judgment may be a matter of opinion, the nature of Thomas' block isn't. The NFL announced Monday that the hit was an illegal chop block and could result in a fine. As Pro Football Talk pointed out, the hit violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 3 items c) and d). In short, Thomas' hit below Campbell's thigh area makes it a clear violation of the rules.