As the Eagles trailed Washington by two points with 11:38 remaining in the fourth quarter, Darren Sproles called for a fair catch and attempted to field a punt at Philadelphia’s 25-yard-line. But before he could catch the ball, Washington safety Deshazor Everett leveled Sproles and forced the Eagle out of the game with a head injury.
A scuffle immediately ensued after the play involving several players on both teams, including Steven Means and Terrence Brooks on the Eagles’ side. A few offensive players also came off of the sideline quickly, including Jason Peters. After the game, many Eagles were still upset over the play, with Zach Ertz calling it an “obvious cheap shot.”
“I thought it was b.s. Darren didn’t even have the ball, and the guy tried to take his head off,” Ertz said. “He tried to take Brent [Celek]’s head off and knocked him out of the game, too. I don’t know who that guy is, but I thought it was b.s.”
Less than two minutes before Everett’s interference with opportunity to catch penalty, he took Celek out of the game with an illegal blindside block.
“My condolences to (Sproles),” Everett told reporters after the game. “Definitely wasn’t intentional. I’m not trying to take a guy out of the game like that.
“I did not see him fair catch for the ball at all. I thought the ball was right there in front of me when I went for the tackle. But, unfortunately, it was not. … Football is a split-second game and unfortunately I did not make the right decision, but I was just giving my full effort to go out there and make the tackle.”
Leodis McKelvin, who returned punts at one point for the Bills earlier in his career, called the play “one of the scariest positions to be in because you’re not bracing yourself.” Brandon Graham, on the other hand, didn’t think the hit on Sproles was dirty.
“I understand in that moment you want to make a play,” Graham said. “I’ll let the league handle that. There isn’t anything we can do now. Sproles is okay; I’m happy everything is good for him. Obviously, you need a guy like him in there all the time. I don’t see it as a cheap shot; I see it as he was down there running, [it was] helmet to helmet and stuff happens in the game.”