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Monday, September 28, 2009
The leg-whipping of 49ers' Staley

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


This was a violent, violent football game between the 49ers and Vikings in Week 3.

Left tackle Joe Staley wasn't sure afterward which Vikings player had leg-whipped him, resulting in a leg contusion that will require an MRI, but I've had a chance to go back and look at the replay. Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson was trying to tackle 49ers running back Glen Coffee when his legs flew around and whacked an unsuspecting Staley with 12:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The leg-whipping appeared unintentional. Henderson was blitzing on the play and already deep in the 49ers' backfield when Shaun Hill handed off to Coffee. Henderson was moving too quickly to reverse course, so he latched onto Coffee with both arms while the running back took off upfield. Henderson's lower body whipped around hard as Coffee accelerated in the opposite direction. Henderson's left foot hit Staley in the upper leg. The foot just as easily could have struck the player Staley was blocking, linebacker Chad Greenway, or even defensive tackle Letroy Guion, who was also nearby.

That was my take on it, anyway.

Staley was having a hard time moving after the injury, but he stayed in the game for the next play and did his best to block Jared Allen while Hill completed a pass over the middle to Vernon Davis. Barry Sims then replaced Staley for the remainder of the drive, marking the first offensive snaps Staley has missed since entering the NFL in 2007.