Early in the fourth quarter of the Philadelphia-Washington game on Sunday, Eagles running back Darren Sproles attempted to field a punt when Redskins safety Deshazor Everett ran over him before the ball even arrived.
Everett's collision with the 33-year-old Sproles' head and neck drew a penalty for “interference with opportunity to catch” but did not result in an ejection. Sproles lay flattened on the ground while trainers attended to him for several minutes before rising and heading to the locker room.
Sproles' teammates were incensed, to say the least. Shoving and shouting nearly erupted into a brawl.
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On Monday morning, in response to a ProFootballTalk article quoting a pair of Eagles calling Everett's hit a “cheap shot,” Redskins defensive tackle Chris Baker opined contrarily on Twitter:
At least one Eagles player, defensive end Brandon Graham, agrees with Baker's assessment. “I don't see it as a cheap shot,” Graham said. “Stuff happens in the game.”
But the vast majority do not see it that way.
“I thought it was BS,” Eagles tight end Zach Ertz said. “Darren didn't have the ball, and the guy tried to take his head off.”
“I did not see [Sproles] fair catch for the ball at all,” Everett said. “I thought the ball was right there in front of me when I went for the tackle, but unfortunately it was not. The ball hit me in the back as you can tell.
“Football is a split-second game and I did not make the right decision. I was just giving my full effort to go out there and make the tackle. I go out there and play hard every time and give my full effort every time. You can not take that out of the game.”
Everett escaped ejection but is almost certain to catch a fine from the league for the hit.