Nine weeks after breaking his collarbone, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back. Nine weeks after applying the hit that broke Rodgers’ collarbone, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr is still hearing about it.
Via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Barr said Friday that he’s still getting nasty messages on Twitter, wishing injury upon him in retaliation for the injury he caused to Rodgers.
“I don’t feel it’s going to stop,” Barr said. “So it kind of is what it is.”
“I actually just got one right here,’’ Barr added while speaking to Tomasson. “It says, ‘I hope you tear your ACL.'” (Barr also has received at least one old-school letter via the U.S. mail, in which the unknown author expresses a hope that Barr experiences a Darryl Stingley-style injury in the looming rematch.)
For anyone who knows Twitter, the venom isn’t surprising. For anyone who knows football, the belief that Barr did anything wrong is. The hit was clean and legal — and actually welcomed by Rodgers.
Go back and watch the play. He held the ball longer than he needed to, throwing it at the last possible instant in order to allow tight end Martellus Bennett to get in better position to convert the catch into a longer gain. (Bennett dropped the pass.) Rodgers knew he’d be hit, and he surely assumed he’d get up and keep going.
It’s another example of the importance of quarterbacks minimizing the contact they absorb. Whether running down the field or scrambling behind the line or holding the ball a little bit longer as a defender approaches, quarterbacks who hope to keep playing need to find ways to take as few hits as possible, because any hit can be the one that knocks a guy out for weeks, months, or the season.
Of course, none of this will convince salty Packers fans to quit blaming Barr for the injury. The truth, however, is that Rodgers has himself to blame for unloading the ball to Bennett at the moment Barr was ready to unload on Rodgers.