Steelers’ Fitzpatrick says the hit that injured Browns’ Chubb wasn’t dirty

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) celebrates after an interception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022. (Don Wright/AP)

PITTSBURGH — Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick believes the hit that ended Browns running back Nick Chubb‘s season on Monday night was unfortunate but not dirty.

Fitzpatrick dove at Chubb’s legs in an effort to stop the Cleveland star near the Pittsburgh goal line early in the second quarter of what eventually became a 26-22 Steelers victory.

Chubb had Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb on his back when Fitzpatrick struck Chubb’s left leg. The leg stayed planted on the Acrisure Stadium turf while his body bent over the top of Pittsburgh’s All-Pro safety.

Chubb will undergo surgery to repair the injury and faces a lengthy rehab. Fitzpatrick called the injury “unfortunate” but defended himself against critics who believe the hit was illegal.

“I’m a guy that is a competitor, that is going to go out there and play the game,” Fitzpatrick said Thursday. “I’m chippy. I’m edgy of course but I’m not a dirty player. I’m not going to sit here and defend my character. I know the type of player I am. Chubb knows the type of player I am.”

Fitzpatrick, who bruised his chest on the play, said he told Chubb on the field before the running back was taken away in a cart that the hit was not intentional.

“No chance that I would ever try to purposely injure somebody,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was an unfortunate hit. We play a physical game and people get hurt and you know, people sit behind a screen and tell me how I should have done it and what they would done, they’ve never played the game.”

Fitzpatrick, who is 20 pounds lighter than Chubb, said he didn’t see Holcomb on Chubb’s back when Chubb charged through the hole. He made a decision to go low because he believed if he didn’t, he was “going to get run over and I’m going to get concussed.”

While Fitzpatrick understands rules are designed to protect offensive players, he added his job is to try and stop them without putting himself at risk too.

“I know it’s an offensive game and people want to see points and whatnot but defensive players are people too and you’ve got to protect themselves,” he said. “When you’re tackling big guys, it’s easier and you take less of a brunt on your body and your head when you go low.”

Fitzpatrick, who went to the hospital as a precaution after aggravating the injury while trying to chase down Browns running back Jerome Ford later in the game, expects to be available when the Steelers (1-1) travel to Las Vegas (1-1) on Sunday night.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.