Philadelphia Eagles: Jon Runyan’s explanation on Wentz hit was a joke

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Now a crony for the NFL, former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Runyan offered up his view of the Jadeveon Clowney hit on Carson Wentz, and it was laughable.

Jon Runyan will not be getting a warm welcome from Philadelphia Eagles fans anywhere, anytime soon. Not after the NFL’s Vice President of Policy and and Rules Administration went on 94 WIP this past Thursday to defend the league’s decision to not hand out any supplemental discipline to Jadeveon Clowney for his infamous hit to Carson Wentz.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

It’s the story and the aggravation that won’t die, this clear cheap shot that effectively killed the Eagles’ season. And even though fining Clowney wouldn’t magically restore Wentz to health or reverse the outcome of a game that had already been played, it would have at least served as an acknowledgement.

The NFL needed to admit that a call was missed, and they needed to show that they give a crap about Carson Wentz and are interested in looking out for his health like they do for seemingly every other quarterback in the league at the drop of a hat.

Instead, Runyan offered up a resolute defense of the league’s decision not to suspend, fine or send a dirty look Clowney’s way. It was fully expected, of course, as nothing different was going to come from a mouthpiece like Runyan.

Jon Runyan should be given credit for at least going on the air to explain the league’s view of the play, as he walked us all through the technicalities that didn’t qualify it as being an illegal hit. And neither Runyan nor anyone else can get inside the headspace of a player to determine their intent on a given play.

Still, give me a break.

We all know exactly what Clowney was doing. To quote Bob Dole, “You know it, I know it, and the American people know it”. But I suppose that’s not enough to “convict” in this case, even though you can clearly see Clowney launching himself and not in control of his body as he leads with his head.

The most interesting aspect of all this to me is the fact that Runyan was acknowledged as a very dirty player during his time in the league. Does that make him somehow more qualified to rule on these kinds of things? Maybe it does, in some kind of twisted way. He knows it when he sees it, I guess.

Except, in this case, he doesn’t.

But maybe I’m being too harsh, as Runyan could just be interpreting the league’s rules and guidelines as written. If something is already expressly written in black and white, you can cite it to make an airtight case. Runyan was a politician, after all. And God knows we could all use more of those around the game of football.

The question I’m most interested in, and that I’ve heard nobody bring up yet (forgive me if I’m late to the party on it): If Runyan was still playing and saw his QB take a hit like that, would he just let it slide because the hit, by the NFL’s definition, was not illegal in any way? No retaliation from big, bad Jon?

Seriously, would Jon Runyan have stood there doing nothing, as he used to do time after time when Michael Strahan would blow by him to destroy Eagles quarterbacks?

Look, Jon Runyan doesn’t owe any special treatment to the Philadelphia Eagles. And in the end, he just has to regurgitate the company line. But this was a chance to at least correct the record on a call that was missed in real time by just about everybody. Runyan, and whoever else is involved in the decision-making at the NFL, blew it.

And that’s extremely disappointing because, in this case, it showed that the league was more concerned with the minutiae of the rulebook than in trying to protect a player’s health. And not just any player, but one of the league’s most promising quarterbacks that it should be trying to build its product around.

One other thing is worth pointing out. Runyan said himself that the NFL metes out discipline for the act/violation itself and does not take into account the severity of any injury that results. We all need to hold him and the league to this in the future.

Next. Eagles: Miles Sanders should be even better in year 2. dark

In the final analysis, we all still know that it only takes a moderately intelligent person to see that Clowney’s hit on Wentz was a cheap one. Unfortunately, once Jon Runyan got involved, that went out the window.