The debate over whether the hit by Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, which knocked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz out of a wild-card playoff game Sunday, warranted a fine has been settled.
According to reports Friday night from the NFL Network — the league’s official media outlet — as well as other national reporters, the league reviewed the play and decided not to fine Clowney.
Clowney was not called for a penalty on the play, which came late in the first quarter, and referee Shawn Smith said after the game to a pool reporter that the officiating crew did not believe the play warranted a flag and noted that Wentz was “a runner and did not give himself up.” (Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald was credited for a sack on the play.)
The NFL can review any play for a possible fine. On plays such as personal fouls, the review serves as a final verdict on whether a penalty should have been called.
Clowney said Thursday that he had not heard from the league, but otherwise did not want to talk about it, saying, “I’m past it.”
The play drew lots of discussion after the game, a 17-9 Seahawks win in which Wentz did not play the final three quarters. He finished the drive and pulled himself out of the game to be examined for a possible concussion. After being looked at on the sidelines, he went to the locker room and was ruled out.
Josh McCown, a 40-year-old backup, took over in what was his first playoff game. It was reported Friday that McCown suffered a torn hamstring in the second quarter of the game but played through it — the Eagles had no other quarterbacks on the roster — and will require surgery.
Clowney said he received substantial criticism for the play via social media and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters joined the chorus, telling reporters after the game, “It was a dirty hit.”
In the locker room after the game, Clowney said he did not think he had done anything wrong.
“I was just playing fast,” Clowney said. “He turned like he was running the ball, and I was trying to get him down. It was a bang-bang play. I don’t intend to hurt nobody in this league. I didn’t even think I hit him with my helmet.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seconded that sentiment this week when he was asked what he thought of the play generating controversy.
“He hit him in the back of the head, but he wasn’t trying to hurt him or anything,” Carroll said. “That just happened. It’s football and unfortunately, he got banged. Hate that he didn’t get to play the game. I don’t know. I don’t know why there’s much discussion about it. I mean, the guy is chasing, and he dove on the guy and hit him. It’s unfortunate.”