Mac Jones explains why he made controversial tackle on Brian Burns

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Mac Jones is steeped in controversy following the New England Patriots’ win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 9. The quarterback made a questionable tackle on Brian Burns after the defensive end managed a strip-sack.

The issue? Burns didn’t have the football, so the play looked dangerous and, to many, dirty. Jones grabbed Burns’ ankle and brought him to the ground, even though the Panthers had already recovered the ball five yards away. The Patriots quarterback has been under fire from Panthers players — and others around the NFL. He shared his side of the story.

“After I got hit pretty hard, I didn’t really know exactly what was going on. I thought he had the ball and it was my job to try and make the tackle. That was pretty much it,” Jones said on Merloni & Fauria on WEEI sports radio on Monday. “And you know, obviously when you get up and you see the ball is actually down the field a little bit more … it was just a bang-bang play and I didn’t mean to hurt anybody or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle him and make the play. Because you know, I didn’t really know what was going on.”

Jones and Burns have played each other, going back to high school. Is there some kind of grudge between them?

“There’s no beef or anything like that,” Jones said,

Even Panthers coach Matt Rhule weighed in on the situation. He coached Jones during the Senior Bowl, a pre-draft scouting event. Rhule didn’t see what Jones was seeing.

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

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