NFL training camp is underway, and players are already getting cut.
Normally athletes are dropped when they can’t perform as well as their counterparts, but this time, J.T. Ibe went a little too hard.
That’s right; the Carolina Panthers safety had a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit with wide receiver Keith Kirkwood that coach Matt Rhule described as “unacceptable,” and he was subsequently waived after getting kicked out of practice.
The incident occurred when Kirkwood jumped into the air to snag a high pass when Ibe knocked him to the ground. While the hard-hit didn’t seem to affect Kirkwood’s body movement, the medical staff would rather be safe than sorry, so he was loaded into an ambulance.
“(Kirkwood) had movement in his legs. Didn’t have any pain in his neck. A lot of that obviously is precautionary,” Rhule said after practice. “We’ll wait to see after he’s looked at, what exactly it is. That was just the early signs.”
It turns out Kirkwood did have some head trauma but later returned to the training facility after being diagnosed with a concussion.
Ibe spoke to the media after and was extremely apologetic for the hit, wishing him the best.
“I just felt bad,” said Ibe, told the Charlotte Observer. “I looked at him when I landed, and I just felt bad. I asked the trainers to tell him I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him like that. It wasn’t intentional at all and I’m praying he’s OK. Obviously, I’m in an emotional state right now, but at the end of the day it’s not about me — it’s about Keith being OK.”
The jury is still out if the hit was actually dirty or a bit too overzealous.