(Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick found himself on the defensive three days after his tackle on Nick Chubb resulted in a season-ending knee injury for the Cleveland Browns running back.
Chubb rushed up the middle for a gain of 5 yards with 14:14 left in the second quarter on Monday and was in the process of being tackled by Pittsburgh linebacker Cole Holcomb when Fitzpatrick dropped his shoulder and ran directly into Chubb's left knee.
The hit by Fitzpatrick caused Chubb's leg to bend, and Chubb sat up and grabbed his knee and could be heard yelling in anguish through the field microphones.
"Very unfortunate. It's a tough injury. Unfortunately, it's part of the game that we play," Fitzpatrick said Thursday. "You know, people are going to say I had ill will behind the tackle. That's not the case whatsoever. I'm a guy that's a competitor that's gonna go out there and play the game. I'm chippy. I'm edge, of course, but I'm not a dirty player.
"I'm not gonna sit here and defend my character. I know the type of player I am; Chubb knows the type of player I am. I've played against him the past five years, two times a year and I love competing against him. He brings the best outta me, and I bring the best outta him. No chance that I would ever try and purposely injure somebody."
Fitzpatrick said there is nothing he'd do differently in his approach to tackle the physical Chubb on the play that resulted in his knee injury. He also told Chubb that he wasn't intentionally trying to hurt him while the latter was on the ground in pain on Monday.
Fitzpatrick was injured on the same play.
He returned to the game before sustaining a chest injury in the third quarter while making a tackle on a 69-yard run by Chubb's replacement at running back, Jerome Ford.
Fitzpatrick was taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons. Although he did not participate in practice on Wednesday, he expects to play for Pittsburgh (1-1) in its road game against the Las Vegas Raiders (1-1) on Sunday night.
Fitzpatrick, 26, has recorded 10 tackles and two pass deflections in two games (both starts) this season.
A three-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl selection, Fitzpatrick has 458 tackles, 19 interceptions, 49 passed defensed, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and five touchdowns in 81 career games (76 starts) with the Miami Dolphins (2018-19) and Steelers.
--Field Level Media