Former University of Kentucky football star and current Green Bay Packer wide reciever, Randall Cobb took a low hit by Baltimore’s rookie first-round safety Matt Elam during last Sunday’s game. On a critical third down play, Cobb hauled in a pass from QB Aaron Rodgers when Elam was there to meet him, driving his shoulder into Cobb’s right knee four yards short of the first down. It appeared as if the safety drove his helmet directly into Cobb’s knee, leaving him in pain on the field.
Rodgers confronted Elam after the play and later told reporters via FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo, “I just felt like, from my vantage point he had plenty of time to not take out a guy’s legs in the situation. I think he could have hit him in the proper hitting zone, and that’s what I told him,” Rodgers explained. “The other safety came over and actually made a very knowledgeable point, which I appreciated a little intelligent answer back and forth about some of the issues defensive players have to deal with the target area. I totally understand that and get that.”
Cobb was helped off the field and carted to the locker room, later returning to the sidelines with crutches joining WR James Jones who went out early in the game with a leg injury.
Elam was not penalized on the play and is not expected to be fined, however he denied to comment on the hit in the locker room after the game. Baltimore safety James Ihedigbo, who was nearby, stepped in.
“Yeah, on the hit, it’s part of the rules, we try to play within the rules of football. That’s on (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell. He wants us to hit low, we’ll hit low, and guys will keep getting injured. God forbid, but that’s been taking place with (Miami Dolphins tight end) Dustin Keller (who took a similar hit by Houston Texans, D.J. Swearinger) being out for the season. God forbid, I don’t know what Randall Cobb suffered, but I’m praying for him because it’s unfortunate.”
The new targeting rules were brought into affect this year in both the NFL and NCAA with a focus on eliminating head trauma. However, they have increased players’ risk of knee and leg injuries like Cobb’s. Players now have to choose where to hit. If they hit to high they could get a penalty or fined, but if they hit to low they could cause serious injuries. Although they may not have a long-term impact like concussions and other head injuries, their immediate impact can be devastating. With athletes getting stronger and faster, the leagues are always trying to make serious changes in order to protect the players, but overcompensation for head injuries will lead to injuries in other areas.
After a MRI on Monday, Cobb’s injury turned out to be more serious then expected with a source telling Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinet that Cobb nearly broke his fibula, “all the way through.”
Cobb later tweeted on Monday: