Outspoken Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey pointed his finger at the NFL's recent rules changes after seeing wide receiver Marqise Lee carted off the field during a preseason game.
Lee sustained what appeared to be a serious left knee injury after being tackled by Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee during the first quarter of the Jaguars' 17-6 win on Saturday night. Lee's left knee buckled and he immediately clutched at it with both hands.
Kazee was penalized on the play for lowering his helmet to initiate contact.
"You can't be mad at 27 (Kazee)," the 23-year-old Ramsey said, via ESPN. "You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them, but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don't want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. ... Game-changing stuff could happen. You don't really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him.
"I don't know, man, that's just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period, but you can't really blame 27."
Kazee took to Twitter to defend himself for his actions on the play and wish for a speedy recovery for Lee.
"Before i go out on the field i pray for both teams to stay healthy," the 25-year-old wrote. "i was just trying to make a football play, i will never ever try to hurt anyone, i just want to reach out to you bro and tell you that you'll be in my prayers everyday."
While the NFL Competition Committee is not going to be changing the rule after reviewing feedback from players, coaches and officials, it recently did clarify that "determined that inadvertent or incidental contact with the helmet and/or facemask is not a foul," NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said in a statement tweeted by NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora.
"As all adjust to the new rule, we will continue to provide video feedback and examples of fouls and incorrect calls to coaches, players and officials over the next couple weeks and throughout the season as the new rule is implemented," Vincent's statement also read.
Signed a four-year, $34 million contract ($16.5 million guaranteed) in March, Lee has recorded 171 receptions for 2,166 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons with the team. He led the Jaguars in catches (56) and was second in yards (702) in 2017.
An extended absence would leave the Jaguars with mostly inexperienced wide receivers. That group includes Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and rookie D.J. Chark.