Joe Looney said he was "playing to the whistle" when he hit Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams in the third quarter Sunday and that he meant the veteran starter no harm. Williams left the game and was diagnosed today with a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise but no ligament damage.
"I didn't want to take out his knee or anything like that," Looney said today in the 49ers locker room. "You know, I'm coached to go 110 percent and I'm trying to make this team. I've been hurt before and I know what it's like to be hurt, and I wouldn't wish that harm on anybody in this league. I tried to find him after the game to let him know I wasn't trying to take a low shot on him."
Looney suffered a broken foot before the 2012 Senior Bowl. He recovered in time for the season but did not play any snaps last year for the 49ers.
Williams, who along with the rest of the Vikings starters, played well into the third quarter, was understandably angry with what happened. "I was just upset that I'm getting cut 11 years in [the NFL] from a guy who I don't even know," Williams told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I figure between the pain and the fact he cut me when I wasn't looking was my reaction."
Looney said he saw tailback LaMichael James initially get stopped in the backfield but then start cutting back in his direction. Williams did not seem to see the same thing and was letting up when Looney went down to hit him. Looney said he was relieved when he heard there was no ligament damage for Williams.
"Definitely dealing with injuries - it sucks," he said. "And I wish him a full recovery."
- Matt Barrows