Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr says he did not aim to hurt Aaron Rodgers when he hit the Green Bay Packers quarterback outside the pocket and fractured his collarbone.
“By no means was I trying to injure or take out Aaron Rodgers,” Barr said Friday. “He’s one of, if not, the best player in this league. I’m not a dirty player. I don’t play dirty. We don’t preach that around here.
“It’s unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt. It’s a gift and a privilege to be able to play on the field each week, so I would never try and take that away from anybody, let alone one of the best players in our game.”
Barr was the subject of strong criticism from Packers coach Mike McCarthy earlier this week and received immense backlash from fans on social media during the game.
“When I got back to my phone at halftime, I had like 3,000 notifications,” Barr said. “Mostly not too kind words. I get it. I understand where they’re coming from.”
The NFL on Friday deemed Barr’s hit legal by not fining him. The league, however, did hand down a $9,115 fine for his head-butt of Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.
The tackle occurred six plays into the Packers’ second drive. Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to his right and threw a pass to Martellus Bennett, which the tight end dropped. Barr followed through on what he called a routine tackle, saying he would not have done anything differently.
“I think I hit Jameis [Winston] similar earlier in the season and nobody mentioned it,” Barr said. “It’s a dirty play in some people’s eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up, we’re not having this conversation. I wish him a speedy recovery. [He’s] one of my favorite players to compete against, play against.