San Francisco 49ers guard Joe Looney almost ended Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams’ season with a low block in a meaningless preseason game, but he said he never meant to hurt him.
Williams suffered a hyperextended knee, bone bruise and postular capsule strain Sunday night when Looney dropped down in front of him and collided with his knee in what several current and former NFL players are calling a dirty block. Toomey said Monday he meant no harm.
"I tried to find him after the game to apologize, to let him know I'm not that kind of player who's trying to hurt guys and maliciously take violent hits at people," Looney said Monday, according to CSNBayArea.com. "I've been injured myself. I know what it's like."
The NFL reviewed the play and deemed it legal after the Vikings registered a complaint and argued Looney should be disciplined for the block, which did not cause any ligament damage for Williams. Williams is questionable for the Vikings’ regular season opener Sept. 8 against the Detroit Lions.
While Looney will not be punished, the hit may lead to rule changes regarding low blocks. According to USA Today, “A spokesman indicated to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the NFL's competition committee will look at the rules involving similar blocks next offseason. The play was not considered a peel-back block because Looney was moving toward his own goal line.”
Even so, Williams’ teammates are still furious that the play happened and will go unpunished.
"My problem with this play is its intent," Jared Allen, Vikings defensive end, told USA Today Tuesday. "He ducked down to hit him in the knee. It was intent to hit him in the knee, and if the league can't see that, they can fine me for this, because it's absurd."
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway told ESPN Monday, "It's really quite ridiculous. It's something we talked about in our meetings with the refs before the preseason started. It's just unnecessary. [Williams] wasn't going to make the play. He wasn't going to be part of the play. I understand that guy [Looney]'s trying to earn a job, as well, but he could have easily just hit him high.”