NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said Jones could face a fine but won’t be suspended as part of any discipline for grabbing and tripping Brian Burns.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Mac Jones’s grab and apparent trip of Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns after being sacked and fumbling during the Patriots’ win over Carolina on Sunday is causing a stir on social media, with some questioning whether Jones committed a “dirty” play.

The New England rookie might be about to hear from the league office over that play, too.

The NFL is reportedly reviewing Jones’s actions during the controversial play, according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

After Burns raced around the edge to sack Jones and dislodge the football, the Patriots’ quarterback tugs at the defender’s ankle, possibly to stop him from recovering the loose football that Carolina’s Frankie Luvu eventually scooped up.


Burns then tumbled to the ground and suffered an ankle injury on the play. Though the edge defender returned to the game, he later left in pain and was diagnosed with an ankle sprain after the contest.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick suggested on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday that Jones may have believed Burns had the football and was trying to make a tackle on the play. (As an aside, the rookie quarterback actually did tackle Stephon Gilmore on the ex-Patriot’s interception on Sunday.)

Others, like Boomer Esiason, have called the play “heady” for disrupting Burns’s potential recovery of a fumble.

But a look at the play from multiple angles isn’t flattering, no matter what the explanation is.

Jones’s head is turned toward the football as it lies on the ground behind the line of scrimmage, suggesting he could reasonably be expected to see Burns didn’t have the ball.

Also, Luvu had already recovered the fumble when Burns started to break toward the football. Jones had that play in front of him as well, even if he didn’t register it at the time. As such, his grab of the defender’s ankle was far too late to influence that play, nor was it particularly close to the action.


The kicker: another angle showed Jones seeming to wrap both legs around Burns’s left leg and take him to the ground, which might have contributed to the Carolina defender’s awkward fall.

Still, Pelissero indicates any potential punishment of Jones for the play would come as a fine, not a suspension.

When asked about the play Monday morning, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule didn’t echo Haason Reddick’s assertions that Jones made a dirty play, saying he “didn’t know what was going on in Jones’s brain.” However, the coach agree with Reddick saying the play should have been penalized.