By Danny Cox
This NFL season has been off the charts as far as unpredictability and just outright strange things going down. One other thing that has been discussed in bulk is the amount of “dirty play” being aired out in the open from different players around the league. It seems as if the bounty scandal with the New Orleans Saints didn’t really teach anyone anything.
The latest accusations of “dirty” tactics are coming from the Houston Texans after their victory this past Sunday over the Tennessee Titans.
It appears as if Titans offensive lineman David Stewart didn’t take too kindly to playing against his AFC South rivals. Word from some of the Texans’ players is that Stewart was pulling hair, throwing punches, and just taking matters into his own hands throughout the entire game.
“I saw some things I’ve never seen before,” Texans defensive end Antonio Smith told the Houston Chronicle. “I saw him try to pull (Reed’s) hair out, tried to ride somebody’s back, which I thought was kind of funny, actually.” The Reed that Smith is speaking of is linebacker Brooks Reed of the Texans.
This would not be the first time that Smith has accused a player of being dirty on the field this season. After the Texans took down the Miami Dolphins in week one, Smith threw out complaints about Dolphins’ guard Richie Incognito playing dirty.
Houston Texans’ linebacker Connor Barwin backed up his teammate and says that Smith’s comments aren’t just out of nowhere.
“He’s like Incognito,” Barwin told the Chronicle. “Everybody will say it — (Stewart) is a dirty player. He threw a punch at me. He threw a punch at Brooks.”
Making the case against Smith seem even more viable is that a third Houston Texan chimed in the same sentiment. Houston safety Danieal Manning told the Houston Chronicle that Stewart also got overly physical with cornerback Jonathan Joseph.
“One play, I saw (Joseph) making a tackle, and (Stewart) was around the pile, and he was trying to help (Titans running back) Chris Johnson up,” Manning told the paper. “(Joseph) was down. He was kneeing (Joseph), and I said, ‘This guy’s crazy.’”
Having that many players come out and speak against you is not good by any stretch of the imagination, and it will probably cause the NFL to look a little more closely at Stewart’s play. The big hits, dirty plays, and underhanded tactics are coming in bulk this year, but Titans’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thinks it nothing more than normal.
“It was chippy all day on both sides,” Hasselbeck said. “I saw people punch (Stewart) in the face, and there was no handkerchief. I don’t know what to say. I guess his reputation got him.”
It isn’t exactly clear what is making the “dirty play” so prominent this year. One would think that it would take a backseat and players would be a little more careful after all of the trouble the Saints got into. Reality is showing that players care little to none about the bounty scandal punishments, and are just airing it out for the entire world to see.
Sooner or later though, someone is going to get caught or even just made an example of, and things will settle down.
Remember, he’s watching. Roger Goodell is always watching.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.