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Tony Gonzalez: Hit me in the head, not my knees

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Tarell Brown #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is among the group of NFL players taking issue with the play that ended Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller’s season last week.

Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger dove into Keller’s knee while trying to make a tackle in their game against the Dolphins on Saturday night. The play tore Keller’s ACL, MCL and PCL and dislocated his knee in the process. It was a brutal injury that landed Keller on injured reserve.

Gonzalez hates the play. It’s the last thing he wants to see a defender to do when trying to tackle him. As far as he’s concerned, he’d rather take a blow to the head than have a player diving at his knees.

“It should be a fineable offense. That’s just not part of football -- hitting a defenseless player in his knee, that’s something we all dread as players. That’s my nightmare,’' Gonzalez said, via Jim Corbett of the USA Today. “Hit me in my head (instead).”

Gonzalez called the hit by Swearinger “ridiculous.” Swearinger has claimed that he tried to tackle Keller low because of the league’s mandate against blows to the head. He said the rule changes have forced defenders to lower their angle of attack.

Gonzalez doesn’t buy it. He said there’s “a whole target area” between the knees and neck where a defender can legally hit a player.

“I’d rather have a guy hit me head than knife at my knee,” Gonzalez said. “You’re talking about a career-ending injury. It’s going to be so hard for Dustin to come back off of that. It should be a fineable offense, just like going for the head is.”