After Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury in Monday night's game between the Browns and the Steelers, the world fell silent. One of the most admirable players in the NFL was down on the ground in excruciating pain, and there was nothing anybody could do to help him.
Chubb was carted off the field into the facility and later declared out for the season. His devastating injury had some fans questioning whether the hit that caused his knee injury was legal in the first place.
In the nauseating play in question, Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and linebacker Cole Holcomb both tackled Chubb near the goal line in the second quarter. Holcomb had his arms wrapped around Chubb's torso and was in the motion of bringing him down when Fitzpatrick lunged at Chubb low. The dual-tackle combination caused Chubb's knee to buckle inward; the injury was so horrific that ESPN declined to show a replay.
Was Fitzpatrick's low hit a dirty one? The Steelers safety himself denied he had any ill intentions in that moment and called the situation "unfortunate."
Browns safety Grant Delpit also believes Fitzpatrick did nothing wrong in his latest comments to the media on Thursday.
Browns' Grant Delpit sides with Minkah Fitzpatrick on Nick Chubb hit: "It's just football"
Delpit said, "It’s football, man. I can’t say what I would’ve done in that moment, but I’m sure he didn’t mean to do any harm to Nick or anything like that. It was a crazy play. Plays can go a thousand ways every play. You never know. It’s tough playing this sport sometimes."
Delpit's words echo those of Travis Hunter and Deion Sanders, two members of the Colorado Buffaloes who recently spoke out on Henry Blackburn's vicious hit on Hunter. In that play, one could argue that Blackburn was head-hunting Hunter with the way he timed his hit to knock a defenseless Hunter out on the sidelines.
In Fitzpatrick's hit on Chubb, it appears as though the Steelers safety was legitimately trying to stop the running back from scoring a touchdown, and he wasn't aware that one of his teammates was already in the process of tackling Chubb from up high. Fitzpatrick's low hit was nothing new -- the league sees it from defenders all the time, especially when they play against powerful rushers like Chubb.
In the end, no one should be to blame here. The hit happened, the game is over, and Chubb himself is focused on his recovery. Move on.