Bears guard Lance Louis was put on injured reserve after hurting his knee while being blocked by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, and Chicago Coach Lovie Smith believes the NFL “may do without that play.”
Midstride while chasing down Antoine Winfield, who had just picked off a pass from Jay Cutler, Louis planted his left foot into the turf at the specific moment when Allen launched off both feet to deliver a crushing blow on the offensive lineman that forced him to leave the game with a knee injury. A source familiar with the situation said Louis has an ACL tear.
Smith and Chicago Bears defensive end Israel Idonije judged the hit “unnecessary” just before the club officially placed Louis on the injured reserve.
“I like Jared,” Cutler claimed. “I’ve known Jared since we played against him in (Kansas City while) I was at Denver,” Cutler said. “He’s a great competitor. I believe he’s a good teammate. I would like to play with him. But you just don’t like to see those things.”
The NFL certainly will look into Allen’s hit, as it does on all plays that cause injury. Allen might face league discipline in the form of fines or perhaps even a suspension, considering he was fined an overall total of $75,000 in 2008 for 2 hits deemed illegal. Just last week Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed successfully appealed a one-game suspension for repeated instances over 3 years of illegal hits. NFL spreads
“Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league. I suspect there are some plays when you look at them again, you said, ‘Hey, we may have done without that,’” Smith recounted. “I think our game could do without that play. We have an injured player at this time based mostly on it. I think he may have gotten blocked a bit differently.
“But that is about all I can probably say about it. I’m sure the league will look at it and give another opinion of what they think.”
Allen considered the hit legal and said, “I never intentionally attempt to hurt anybody.”
Having been in similar situations blocking for a teammate on an interception, Idonije explained that earlier in his career when blindside shots like Allen’s were legal, “it was the judgment of the players” and that “I’d contact a guy, knock him off his feet” because “you’d want to get knockdowns” due to such plays being “a part of establishing a physical aspect of play that we were known for.”
“Now, the game is different. If a player isn’t looking or if you are coming at an angle where he can’t see you, you can’t contact him on the side of the head,” Idonije said. “You cannot do it. That’s the rule. So I would not do it.”
A 4-year NFL veteran, Louis was enjoying possibly his best season with the Chicago Bears. He was in talks with the organization about a deal extension before the injury. It’s undetermined when those talks will resume. Louis’ rookie contract is about to expire after the 2012 season.