Mac Jones has taken plenty of heat over the last 24 hours after grabbing the ankle of Brian Burns in Sunday's Patriots-Panthers game and injuring the Carolina defensive end in the process.
On Monday, the New England quarterback shared his side of the story.
Jones claimed he thought Burns recovered the football after sacking Jones and forcing a fumble late in the first quarter, and that he was simply trying to tackle the Panthers defender.
"After I got hit pretty hard, I didn’t really know exactly what was going on," Jones told WEEI's "Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "I thought he had the ball, and it was my job to try and make the tackle. That’s pretty much it.
"Obviously when you get up and 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 I didn't really know what was going on."
The optics of Jones' ankle-grab weren't great, as the ball was several yards away from Jones when the rookie quarterback grabbed Burns' ankle. Panthers linebacker Haason Reddick called Jones' play "completely dirty," while several other current and former NFL players criticized the young QB.
The NFL reportedly will look into the play to see if it warrants a fine of Jones, but the 23-year-old doesn't believe the play was fine-worthy based on what he thought was happening.
"No one's out there besides the players," Jones said. "I just thought that's what happened, and I had to make the tackle. I did what I did in real time, and it kind of just is what it is."
"... Hopefully they see it how I saw it in the game and don't look too much more into it, because that's what it was."