Chicago Bears Coach Mike Ditka said the hit that sidelined quarterback Jim McMahon during Sunday's game against New England was illegal and plans to take it up with the league office.
McMahon, starting in his record ninth straight game, limped off during the second quarter after throwing an incomplete pass and being tackled. He will be out for at least a month with a sprained ligament in his right knee.Ditka, at his Monday news conference, said game films showed Patriots defensive end Brent Williams twisted McMahon's leg after he tackled him and the play was dead.
"The way he got hurt was really unfortunate, because the guy did twist his knee after the play," Ditka said. "It was illegal. I intend to send the clip into the league. It was very poor sportsmanship on that guy's part. He was down, the play was over, there was no reason to do what he did, but he did it."
The Bears went on to lose 30-7. Reserve QB Mike Tomczak played most of the second half and is scheduled to start Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Williams called charges he deliberately hurt McMahon "a joke and total garbage."
"Yeah, I heard about it," Williams said Monday when told about Ditka's charges. "He was running out of the pocket and I made a clean tackle. I never tried to hurt anybody intentionally."
Williams also said if any team was guilty of dirty play, it was the Bears.
"Look at the two teams and tell me who has the reputation of being a dirty team. He (Ditka) knowingly has players on his team who intentionally hurt people," said Williams, citing as an example that Chicago guard Mark Bortz stepped on Patriot Toby Williams.
Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn also said he was disgusted by Ditka's allegation. "Why can't they lose quietly," Clayborn said. "They didn't win quietly (in Super Bowl XX against New England) and now they can't lose quietly."
Tests Monday showed McMahon didn't have a torn cartilage, meaning he won't need surgery. He does, however, have a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, meaning he probably will be out from one month to seven weeks.
Trainer Fred Caito said he would know more about how long McMahon would miss after further examinations Tuesday.