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Adrian Clayborn: When you get a guy on his heels, instinct kicks in

Tom Brady

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during a joint workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at NFL football training camp, in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


Thanks to a fan taking video during the joint practice between the Patriots and Buccaneers, everyone got a chance to see the play that led to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffering the knee sprain heard round the world on Wednesday afternoon.

Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn bullrushes Patriots left tackle Nate Solder and pushes him straight back until he makes contact with Brady’s left knee. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said after the practice that both coaches had agreed defenders should rush hard, but to let up when they get close to the quarterbacks in order to allow them a chance to throw the ball. Clayborn explained what happened on the fateful play.

“You always have to stay away from the quarterback but if you get a guy on his heels, my instinct is to keep going. And that’s what I did,” Clayborn said, via the Patriots website.

It’s hard to expect a player to do anything else. Asking a defensive end to rush 100 percent 95 percent of the time and then pull up to five percent while an opposing tackle is still going 100 percent is asking him to get injured. The only way to guarantee that you’ll avoid what happened Wednesday is to not have players rushing at all.

The only other option isn’t guaranteed to work and Solder admitted after practice that it misfired this time.

“We’re always working to protect… you know, I screwed some things up here and there. We’ll work to improve it,” Solder said.

It looks like Brady will be fine and the Patriots got a reminder of the importance of protecting him well on Wednesday.