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Dustin Keller carted off after controversial D.J. Swearinger hit

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

D.J. Swearinger lit up Dustin Keller on Saturday night with a controversial hit.
D.J. Swearinger lit up Dustin Keller on Saturday night with a controversial hit. (USATSI)

D.J. Swearinger doesn't shy away from contact -- the former South Carolina safety, drafted by the Houston Texans, is a big hitter. Proof of that came on Saturday night when he put a nasty and controversial hit on Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller that could severely limit Keller's productivity this season.

Keller was carted off after the hit as Swearinger took his helmet to Keller's knee, as seen here:

There's a pretty good chance that Keller's season is in jeopardy as a result of the hit, a jarring knock to the tight end's knee. What makes the hit particularly controversial is that Swearinger said afterwards he's hitting players like he hit Keller in order to be safer.

"With the rules in this era you've got to hit low," Swearinger said. "If I would have hit him high, I would have gotten a fine. So I think I made the smartest play. I'm sorry it happened and I pray he has a speedy recovery. ... Right now it's just instinct. You see somebody come across the middle, you gotta go low. You're going to cost your team 15 yards. You've got to play within the rules."

Yeah it's weird. Keller might've suffered a major knee injury and yet Swearinger is somehow doing something that is more within the rules than going helmet to helmet.

The target space for defenders is getting smaller and smaller as football becomes more violent and violent.

But ask any player in the NFL and I guarantee they'll tell you they'd prefer getting hit hard in the head to getting hit hard in the knee. It's a weird juxtaposition and it was perfectly shown in a very painful and unfortunate hit from Swearinger on Keller.

The Eye on Football podcast brings you the best NFL analysis money doesn't have to buy. Subscribe on iTunes here!

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