December 20, 2004

GB receiver Ferguson hospitalized after vicious hit

Green Bay Packers receiver Robert Ferguson temporarily lost feeling in his legs last night after being clotheslined by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovan Darius.

Ferguson went up for a pass in the 4th quarter, and on coming down, Darius delivered a vicious clothesline to Ferguson's neck that sent his mouthpiece flying in one direction, his helmet in the other, and the fourth year receiver limply to the turf, unconcious.

Ferguson did not regain feeling in his legs until after he had been taken to a local hospital by ambulance. Jacksonville was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Darius was ejected from the game, which Green Bay lost 28-25.

After the game, Darius was unapologetic.

"It's part of the game," Darius said. "Brett threw the ball and Ferguson was wide open. I was just running over trying to make a play, trying to separate him from the ball. I never intentionally try to hurt someone. I love to play the game and I play it 100 mph. Unfortunately, he got hurt. I pray for him. Everybody that saw it from our standpoint said it looked clean."

But Packers receiver Antonio Chatman said it was clearly a dirty hit "because he got hit on the chin when he couldn't protect himself. I was just praying he was all right. We (receivers) don't go out to hurt nobody, or we'd be cutting them (defensive backs) every time. We block 'em like a man."

Darius said he's seen players stay in the game for hits worse than his.

"It was not intentional, I was just trying to make a play," he said. "I've done that in the past when I know I couldn't get an interception, I swung up, trying to get the ball. That's a technique."

Darius said he would appeal any fine the league hands down.

The NFL generally does not stand for injurius conduct like this from it's players -- you can be fairly certain that the League will send down a hefty fine to Darius for the hit.

The viciousness of the hit recalled a hit more than 25 years ago delivered by the Oakland Raiders' Jack Tatum to New England Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, which left Stingley permanently paralyzed.

Here's hoping that we don't see any injurious cheap shots like that in the League any time soon.

Posted by mhking at December 20, 2004 09:11 AM

One major difference between last night's hit and the Tatum hit: when Tatum hit Stingley it was legal according to the rules of the day, and even Stingley says so. It's a thin line between playing hard and cheap shot, and I hope Ferguson is ok.

Posted by: Ted at December 20, 2004 12:07 PM

I saw it, and the hit wasn't intentional. It was a hard hit but all of the hits are hard hits.

The receiver and defender were in motion and it happened.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 20, 2004 08:52 PM

I'm afraid I disagree, DS -- just because they're in motion doesn't mean squat. The player who's on the ground is in control of his movements a lot better than one who's in the air, and Darius could just as easily have made his move in a way that would have avoided knocking Ferguson out.

Posted by: McGehee at December 21, 2004 10:50 AM

Ferguson moved "at the last moment" to try to avoid Darius. In fact, Ferguson clothes lined the guy because he would have missed the tackle.

Posted by: DarkStar at December 21, 2004 01:25 PM
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