Washington cornerback Williams Jackson III stunningly avoided ejection from Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints after an illegal hit on Taysom Hill ruled him out with a concussion but Jackson defended himself, saying he was going for the ball.
Jackson told reporters after the game that despite the look of the helmet-to-helmet hit on Hill, his intentions were not malicious.
“I was going for the ball,” he told reporters, via Audacy.com. “It was clear that I was going for the ball. But it is what it is.”
Oct 10, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Taysom Hill (7) suffers and apparent neck injury against the Washington Football Team during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Social media erupted after watching the hit, many of them arguing that the five-year veteran should have been ejected from the game.
Hill, the Saints’ backup quarterback and utility player, was in the air attempting to catch a pass from Jameis Winston when Jackson took three steps towards the vulnerable hill before leaning in and making contact with his helmet.
Oct 10, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Taysom Hill (7) is helped to his feet after being injured against the Washington Football Team during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
He fell to the ground grabbing his head and was eventually ruled out with a concussion. The Saints are on a bye week and return on Oct. 25 to play the Seattle Seahawks.
The NFL announced back in August that the league would be looking closely at helmet fouls – a rule change that dates back to 2018.
LANDOVER, MARYLAND – SEPTEMBER 12: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers breaks a tackle from William Jackson #23 of the Washington Football Team at FedExField on September 12, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
In a video distributed by the league, players who are found guilty of lowering “his head to initiate and make contact with an opponent,” will be given a 15-yard penalty and could be “disqualified,” according to ProFootballTalk.
Those hits missed during a game could also be subject to further review after the fact.