It's been almost two weeks since Hines Ward prematurely ended Bengals' linebacker Keith Rivers rookie season. On the fourth play of the Week 7 game, the Steelers wide receiver plastered Rivers, breaking his jaw in the process. The hit was legal -- so legal, in fact, that the league didn't even send Ward an invoice.
Since the incident, Bengals players have both ripped and supported Ward, who admitted he felt bad for Rivers, even asking Chad Johnson to pass along his apologies for hurting him. After the game, safety Chinedum Ndukwe said it was "Too bad [Ward] can't hit someone face up ... It's too bad he has to wait until he's not looking to get him. It's unfortunate that's the type of guy he is."
Yes, it really is too bad Ward didn't ask Rivers if he could block him before he chose to wantonly abide by the rules and do so. Savage.
Linebacker Brandon Johnson was more measured in his post-game response: "... It's part of the game. It was a good block. If I was in Hines Ward's shoes, I probably would have taken the same shot. You can't really blame him."
And today during a radio interview, Rivers, "talking through is teeth" because his jaw is still wired shut, wasn't feeling very forgiving:
"I would have did it. Honestly, whatever. It is what it is ... You know. You reap what you sow. That's what happens. What goes around, comes around. We'll see what happens." ...By all accounts, Rivers is a solid dude and a great teammate, and I can fully understand why he's bummed about how things ended. That said, Ward's hit was legal and if it had been anybody else, we wouldn't even be talking about this.
"I'm just mad ... I've lost a season. Your career is short and I've already lost one year. It's really depressing and disappointing." ...
"If I didn't go on IR, I'd do everything in my will (to play against the Steelers on Nov. 20) -- shoot some cortisone in my face and I'll go".
But if it makes you feel any better, Keith, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott are on the case.