Less than three days after unleashing a hit that ended Nick Chubb’s season, Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick opened up about the play and shared a message for the Browns star running back.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Fitzpatrick shared his sympathies for Chubb before stating he had no ill will on the tackle and defending himself from the criticism he’s faced in the aftermath. The unfortunate play occurred in the second quarter on Monday Night Football, when Chubb suffered a horrific left knee injury after Fitzpatrick hit him in the legs as teammate Cole Holcomb tackled him high.

“Very unfortunate, it’s a tough, tough injury,” Fitzpatrick said. “Unfortunately, it’s part of the game that we play. I know, people are going to say I had ill will behind the tackle, that’s not the case whatsoever. I’m a guy that’s a competitor, that’s gonna go out there and play the game. I’m chippy, I’m edgy, of course, but I’m not a dirty player. 

“I’m not gonna sit here and defend my character. I know the type of player I am, Chubb knows the type of player I am. I’ve played against him for the past five years, two times a year and I love competing against him. He brings the best out of me, and I bring the best out of him. No chance that I would ever try and purposely injure somebody.”

As Fitzpatrick noted, his on-field history with Chubb dates back to their second seasons in 2019, with Monday night’s contest marking their eighth clash in the pros. Prior to that, the pair made waves in the SEC, Fitzpatrick a star at Alabama while Chubb shined at Georgia.

Given his considerable experience facing the powerful Chubb, Fitzpatrick also offered an explanation on why he tackled the lead back low, and how the gruesome sequence that followed played out the way it did.

“I would say, one: they’ve never tackled Nick Chubb before if they’re telling me to go high. Two: What I seen was it opened up, it’s goal line. I didn’t see anybody on him,” Fitzpatrick said, per NFL Network’s James Palmer. “I made the decision as soon as I seen the hole open up and him in the hole to go low. You can tell me how to tackle him low but it’s a fast game. It’s a game [where] you make decisions in milliseconds. 

“Can’t really control what happens after you choose to make your decision. I already chose to go low. Somebody got on his back when I was going low, and what happened happened. There’s nothing I really would do differently. Again, like I said earlier, it’s very unfortunate. Nick Chubb’s a great player. He makes the game a lot better when he’s playing. Just hope for a speedy recovery.”

While Fitzpatrick’s comments may absolve him in the public eye to some degree, the sixth-year veteran could soon hear the backlash for his controversial ‘MNF’ hit all over again when the NFL announces its weekly fines over the weekend.