Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Barry Church on Gronk hit: I was just trying to play football

The Jaguars' Barry Church may not have intended to knock Rob Gronkowski out of the game, but Jacksonville knew the value of his absence, says Mike Florio.

The Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a head injury in the second quarter when Gronkowski took a shot to the head from Jaguars safety Barry Church while he was trying to reel in a Tom Brady pass.

Church was penalized for the hit and said after the game that he tried to hit Gronkowski in the proper zone, but that it is “nearly impossible” while “going 100 miles an hour” on the field.

“I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church said in the locker room after the game. “He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football, if you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder.”

The Patriots got a 32-yard pass interference call on cornerback A.J. Bouye one play later and went on to score their first touchdown of the game on that possession.