Mike Zimmer says hit that injured Rodgers wasn't dirty: 'Sometimes things happen'

Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in Sunday's loss to the Vikings and the Packers will almost certainly be without the NFL's best quarterback for the rest of the season. Coach Mike McCarthy is moving forward with the other two quarterbacks on his roster -- Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan -- so please quit asking him about Colin Kaepernick.

But the coach did offer his thoughts on whether the hit that injured Rodgers -- courtesy of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr -- was questionable. (You can watch the hit here.)

"I didn't like the hit. I had a chance to watch it last night on the plane. (Rodgers) is out of the pocket, he's clearly expecting to get hit. To pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act," McCarthy said Monday. "To sit here and lose any of your players on something like that, it doesn't feel very good. Yeah, I didn't like the hit. It was unnecessary. Legal, or whatever you want to put it at … but it was totally unnecessary, in my opinion."

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Rodgers landed on his right shoulder after taking a hit from Anthony Barr.  NFL/FOX

One of the newest Packers, linebacker Ahmad Brooks, had tackled many a quarterback but like his coach, took issue with the way Barr brought down Rodgers.

"A lot of the times we do want to hit the quarterback," Brooks said, via PackersNews.com, "but I think in this situation Aaron had already released the ball as the guy was engaging into him. He could've just laid off on him. Or even if he wanted to go tackle him, he didn't have to drive him into the ground. That's the problem.

"I think he did extra. It looked like he hit him, and he just pile-drived him to the ground. When I hit people, I never hit them like that. He put more effort into making sure that he pile-drived him to the ground, rather than just tackle him."

Former Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, who is also a friend of Rodgers, agreed.

"Obviously he had about a step and a half to think about it. I have no problem with him hitting Aaron. I think he should have hit the quarterback. Anybody would in that situation," Hawk said, via Madison.com. "I feel like it was a little mini-pile driver into the ground, and we all know that's what hurts people. "I know by the rule book it's not considered unnecessary roughness … but he's trying to drive him into the ground, and with an all-star, franchise quarterback, that's a call you normally get."

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, meanwhile, had no problem with Barr's tackle.

"We're playing football," Zimmer said Monday, via ESPN.com. "It's unfortunate that he got hurt but I think everything was above board. We're not a dirty football team. We'll never be a dirty football team as long as I'm here. We're going to play within the rules and sometimes things happen."

Here's the NFL's rule on the protections afforded the quarterback when he leaves the pocket.

"When the passer goes outside the pocket area and either continues moving without the ball (without attempting to advance the ball as a runner) or throws while on the run, he loses the protection of the one-step rule ... and the protection against a low hit ... but he remains covered by all the other special protections afforded to a passer in the pocket, as well as the regular unnecessary roughness rules applicable to all position players. If the passer stops behind the line and clearly establishes a passing posture, he will then be covered by all of the special protections for passers."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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