Brian Hartline: Swearinger's hit 'crap'

Updated: August 20, 2013, 1:02 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

MIAMI -- The Dolphins suffered a major blow on offense last weekend when a Houston Texans defender went low on Dustin Keller and blew out three of the tight end's knee ligaments. At least one Dolphins player is very unhappy about it.

Miami veteran receiver Brian Hartline criticized Texans rookie safety D.J. Swearinger for the hit during an interview on the "Joe Rose Show" on WQAM radio in South Florida on Tuesday. Swearinger explained after the game that the NFL's policy on concussions and blows to the head is forcing defenders to increasingly go for an opponent's knees.

Hartline wasn't buying that explanation.

"It's crap," Hartline said. "I think that, me personally, if you're sitting there telling me 'I'm worried about going high and for the head' [and] you consciously went low, then [that] is what you're trying to tell me.

"I'm not a defensive player. So I don't sit here and assume right off the bat. But what I do know is that I have a lot of good pros on my team, and from what they have said to me is that there is no place for that in our game today."

[+] EnlargeDustin Keller
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesDustin Keller, who signed a one-year contract with the Dolphins this offseason, will miss the entire 2013 season after injuring his right knee Saturday.

Swearinger, speaking after Saturday night's game, said he knew he had to change his playing style after being penalized for high hits in college.

"My senior year I had like three helmet-to-helmet [penalties]," Swearinger told ESPN.com. "I knew I had to change my style of play and start targeting low."

Swearinger's hit reopened the low-hit debate in the NFL. Keller suffered a torn ACL, MCL, PCL and a dislocated knee cap, a source familiar with the tight end's injury told ESPN. However, Swearinger's hit was within the rules and there was no flag on the play.

Keller was officially put on season-ending injured reserve by the Dolphins on Tuesday.

In an email to NFL.com on Sunday, Keller vowed to "come back stronger, faster and be a better player than before" and thanked his family, teammates and friends for their support. 

Information from ESPN.com Texans reporter Tania Ganguli and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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