J.T. Ibe Explains Himself After Hit Got Panthers’ Keith Kirkwood Carted Off

Ibe insists the hit wasn't malicious


J.T. Ibe was just trying to lay a clean hit, but now his former teammate is in the concussion protocol and Ibe is without a job.

Tuesday marked the first day teams could hold padded practices, and it was a bit of a fiasco at Carolina Panthers training camp. Kirkwood attempted to make a catch in the middle of the field but dropped it as he was brought down by his ankles.

Ibe came in to lay a hit and connected his helmet with Kirkwood’s neck. Kirkwood was carted off the field and put in an ambulance, but, fortunately, it appears he is OK.

Immediately after the hit, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule kicked Ibe, an undrafted rookie, out of practice, publicly called the hit “unacceptable” and cut Ibe minutes later.

“I just felt bad,? Ibe told the Charlotte Observer. “I looked at him when I landed, and I just felt bad. I asked the trainers to tell him I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him like that. It wasn’t intentional at all and I’m praying he’s OK. Obviously, I’m in an emotional state right now, but at the end of the day it’s not about me — it’s about Keith being OK.”

It’s up for debate how malicious Ibe’s hit was. He was a long shot to make the Panthers in the first place, but time will tell if this puts an end to his NFL career just days after it started.

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