Mac Jones gave his side of the story with respect to grabbing Brian Burns’ ankle during a first quarter sack-fumble, a play that’s come under fire thanks to the Panthers calling the rookie quarterback a “dirty player’ and asking for league sanctions.

During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria” show, Jones backed what Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said earlier in the day, that he thought Burns had the ball after the ferocious blindside hit and fumble.

“I got hit pretty hard. I didn’t really know exactly what was going on. I thought he had the ball,” said Jones. “It’s my job to try and make the tackle. That’s pretty much it.

“Obviously, when you get up, and see the ball is down the field a little bit more, it’s just a bang-bang play. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody, or anything like that. I was just trying to tackle him and make the play. Cuz, I really didn’t know what was going on.”

Asked how he felt about the Panthers encouraging league sanctions against Jones, the Patriots quarterback restated his case.

“During the game, no one’s out there besides the players,” he said. “I just thought that’s what happened (Burns had the ball). I had to make the tackle. I did what I did in real time. It is what it is.”

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NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that Jones may face a fine for the play, but there won’t be any discipline beyond that.

“Hopefully they see it how I saw it in the game, and they don’t look too much more into it,” said Jones. “Because that’s what it was.”

The Panthers, meanwhile, still can’t get over it.

Carolina Panthers Coach Matt Rhule chimed in during his presser Monday morning, following up on Haasan Reddick’s rant against Jones following the game.

“I love Mac Jones. Tremendous competitor. I have no idea what was in his brain,” Rhule said. “I’m not here to talk about that, but I am here to defend our guys. Obviously, we can’t get guys hurt from something after the play.

“I don’t know what was in Mac’s head. My job on game day on the sidelines is to defend our players. What I don’t want to be is I don’t want to be the Carolina Panthers who everybody gets to hit out of bounds and horse-collar and turn their ankles late and nothing ever gets called. I look like a madman on the sidelines, but if that’s what it takes, I’m going to sit there and defend our players to the officials the entire game.”

During his radio appearance, Jones also confirmed that he and Burns had played together on opposing teams in high school. He said there was no animosity between the two. Jones cracked that Burns might not have even known who he was in high school.

“He’s a great player, a great defensive end. He’s been that way a long time,” said Jones. “He was great at Florida State and then obviously, has played well in the NFL. He’s done a great job. I have no hard feelings against him or anyone on the team.”


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