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Mac Jones: ‘Didn’t Mean to Hurt’ Brian Burns, Was Trying to ‘Tackle Him and Make the Play’

The Patriots rookie quarterback also provides his thoughts on Odell Beckham, Jr., as well as his his intercepted pass by former teammate Stephon Gilmore.

In light of the aspersions being cast against his character, New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones addressed the controversy surrounding his actions in the aftermath of being strip-sacked by Carolina Panthers defender Brian Burns in Sunday’s 24-6 victory at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“After I got hit really hard, I didn't know exactly what was going on.” Jones said during his weekly interview on WEEI’s Merloni and Fauria. “It was my job to make the tackle. That was pretty much it. It was a bang-bang play. I didn't mean to hurt anybody or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle him and make the play.”

Following an offensive blocking scheme miscommunication between tight end Hunter Henry and left tackle Isaiah Wynn, Jones was left vulnerable to absorb the crushing hit by Burns. Immediately following his fumble, the Pats quarterback was seen holding Burns’ ankle as he attempted to move in the direction of the ball. Jones instinctively tried to prevent Burns from recovering the fumble. However, Burns landed awkwardly as he attempted to spin away from Jones’ grasp. Burns was evaluated in the sideline medical tent, before returning to action.

In his postgame press conference, Panthers edge rusher Haason Reddick called the play “completely dirty” and referred to the failure of officials to penalize Jones as “egregious.” Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule argued with officials after Burns limped off the field, and has also expressed his displeasure with the lack of either a foul, or holding penalty, being called.

“I love Mac Jones,” Rhule told reporters on Monday. “Tremendous competitor. I have no idea what was in his brain (on that play), and I’m not here to talk about that. But I am here to defend our guys. Obviously, we can’t get guys hurt from something after the play.”

Still, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemed to side with his quarterback, in terms of how the action on the field unfolded. Earlier in the morning, Belichick made his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” where he was asked about his reaction to the controversial play.

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“I think he thought Burns had the ball,” Belichick said of the incident when asked what he saw. When asked a follow-up question, Belichick simply replied, “I think he thought he had the ball.”

Ultimately, the NFL will be reviewing the play as part of its normal process As is being reported by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Jones faces a possible fine, but nothing more than that.

Jones on OBJ:

In addition to being asked about the Burns controversy Jones was also asked his opinion on the Patriots’ potential pursuit of presumed free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. While the Pats quarterback was reticent to offer specifics, he did praise Beckham as a talented wide receiver, which he enjoyed watching as a young student athlete.

"I think Odell's a great player,” Jones said. “Obviously, that's not my decision [pursuing him], but we're open to whoever wants to come here and help us win. You'll have to ask people with higher knowledge than me on that one, but we're not opposed to it at all."

Mac on ‘The Play that Got Away’

Jones’ first half interception to former teammate Stephon Gilmore came on an attempt to find receiver Jakobi Meyers for a short-yardage gain. However, Gilmore recognized the route and ran it even better than Meyers did. Though the ex-New England corner may have made a great play on the ball, the rookie should not have made the throw. On Monday, he acknowledged that fact.

"I think it was a little bit of a miscommunication and I shouldn't have thrown it when I did. I should have thrown it away."

Jones and the Patriots will return to the practice field on Wednesday, as they begin their preparations to host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, November 14 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Kickoff is set for 1:00pm.