Jon Gruden likely spoke on behalf of many old-school NFL fans when discussing the hit Danny Trevathan put on Davante Adams last Thursday night.
The former NFL head coach turned ESPN analyst appeared on ESPN’s Mike & Mike. He said essentially that Adams getting hurt was an unfortunate byproduct of Trevathan making a “heck of a play.”
“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Gruden said (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). “It was a vicious hit, but not to be politically correct, you’re supposed to run to the ball. We used to tell our receivers, if you want to run an inside breaking route, if you want to fight for yardage after the catch, you better be careful because these defensive players, they’re on the hunt. I think some of these receivers that are running these quick screens and these inside breaking RPOs [run/pass options], they need to get down, personally. I’m not blaming Davante Adams but I think there’s two ways to look at it. I’ve always coached energy, hustling, rushing to the pile, and if it is wiggling, you do hit it. Because guys are fighting for yardage, and sometimes you’ve got to give up the ball because of one inch. Inches matter. That’s why they measure first downs. That’s why they have a crew down there with those chains. So I’m a little sensitive. I thought Trevathan made a great play. Obviously, what he’s hitting, the surface, below the neck, all those things, I’m totally agreeing on. But I thought Trevathan made a heck of a play and unfortunately a man got hurt.”
Adams thankfully did not suffer any damage to his spinal cord, but he did suffer a concussion. Which, as we’ve learned these days is no minor thing. While he’s feeling great, Adams is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Wednesday. Though, there’s a chance he could potentially play in Week 5, which would certainly be a remarkable turnaround after the hit he took.
The NFL is trying to legislate these types of hits out of the game. While some of what Gruden is salient, the one thing that cannot be acceptable is helmet-to-helmet hits like the one Trevathan rocked Adams with. The linebacker had his head down. He was not looking where he was hitting. He simply went in to lower the boom.
Trevathan was initially slapped with a two-game suspension that was pared down to one game during an appeal.