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#pounditFriday, March 1, 2024

Eli Apple calls out Mac Jones over ‘dirty play’

Mac Jones warms up before a game

Sep 18, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones is only in his second NFL season, but the New England Patriots quarterback has been accused of dirty play by multiple opponents. Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple is the latest.

Jones dove at Apple’s legs and took him out on a turnover play during Cincinnati’s 22-18 win over the Patriots on Saturday. Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt recovered a fumble and tried to return it for a touchdown, though the play was later ruled an incomplete pass. Jones tried to track Pratt down to tackle him but had no chance of catching up to him. He decided to instead throw a low block on Apple, who was trailing Pratt by about five yards.

It’s unclear what Jones was trying to accomplish. He was the defensive player at the time, so he was not in a position where he should have been throwing a block. Apple was asked about the play after the game, and he said it is the type of “dirty play” Jones is known to commit.

“Of course I did (notice it). He tripped me,” Apple told NESN’s Sean McGuire. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before, I’ve seen it.”

Apple was probably alluding to at least two plays. One was earlier this season, when Jones was accused of trying to kick a defender after he went into a slide (video here). The other was last year, when Jones grabbed an opposing player’s ankle during a scramble for a fumble.

Several players have taken notice of Jones’ antics during situations like that. The hit on Apple certainly did not help his reputation.

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