Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell slammed into Alex Smith’s knees from behind on Sunday, and the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback claimed later that it was a dirty hit.
“Certainly when I got fired up, I thought [the hit] was pretty late,” Smith said, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. “I mean, when you get hit in the back of your knee like that, I didn’t understand how that happened. Certainly guys falling, rushing the quarterback, I get it when it’s happening from the front and guys are trying hard. That one to me just seemed so weird to get hit that low coming from behind.”
The video clearly showed that Mitchell hit Smith low and from behind. However, Mitchell has claimed it wasn’t a dirty play at all. He was simply accidentally pushed by a teammate, he fell, and he hit Smith’s knees.
That's about as dirty as it gets, Mike Mitchell. pic.twitter.com/piPXole7hS
— Dan Hanzus (@DanHanzus) October 15, 2017
“At the end of the day, I sleep very well,” Mitchell said, per Chris Adamski of TribLive. “My teammates know who I am. I know what type of person I am. You look at the play, the play speaks for itself. [I’m] fresh out of cares of what people that don’t know me think about me.”
“I felt myself tripping. I felt myself being pushed. I felt myself losing balance. I was aware of the rule. If you watch the tape, I’m even trying to turn my body while I am falling. Alex is backpedaling into me. I wasn’t even going in the direction of Alex. He actually is throwing and fading away. It’s a lot of things that go into the play that make it an accident that you don’t want to see — but that’s exactly what it is.”
Smith was not seriously injured on the play, but Mitchell knows that he may be fined anyway. He maintained that it was nothing he did intentionally.
“I’m not a dirty player,” Mitchell said. “I’m not out here trying to take his legs out. It’s just one of those things you don’t want to see in a football game. It’s unfortunate that it happened because it ended up kind of flipping momentum [on] the field in a significant way.”