Because everyone outside New England loves to create a Patriots controversy, we are still discussing the incident between Mac Jones and Sauce Gardner from last Sunday's game when the Jets visited Foxboro.
It was a strange sequence of events, as the Patriots called a quarterback sneak on 3rd and one with Jones appearing short. After the officials blew the whistle, C.J. Mosley and another Jets defender aggressively took the quarterback to the ground for seemingly no reason.
No flags were thrown despite the apparent violation. And as Jones was getting to his feet, Gardner abruptly shoved him back to the ground. No flags were thrown for that, either, but controversy would come from the moment anyway.
During his media availability after the game, Gardner accused Jones of hitting him below the belt, which prompted his reaction to push him to the ground. Although Jones has denied it, and multiple videos that have surfaced over the last few days are inconclusive, the internet has joined together to slap the dirty player label on Jones once again.
But then former Patriots defensive end Chris Long took it a step further. He quoted Gardner's tweet of attempted evidence to clear his name and referred to Jones as one of the "top 5 dirtiest QB all time."
He proceeded to respond to dozens of fans who pointed out to him that the video didn't show anything malicious, doubling down on his ridiculous statement.
To be fair, just because Long spent a year in New England doesn't mean he has to be loyal to the team and never criticize the team or players. He has every right to have any opinion he wants and can express them as he pleases.
It's not like Jones is exactly innocent, either. He has had multiple instances of questionable antics during games, which have led to fines, which doesn't allow for much benefit of the doubt in any future situation like this.
It's hard to defend some incidents Jones has gotten himself into. The situations with Brian Burns and Eli Apple are the leading examples of that
However, his bold accusation is over the top, especially when he's claiming there are even enough quarterbacks in the history of the NFL that anyone ever considered dirty players. And when talking about dirty players, a name like Vontaze Burfict comes to mind.
Can anyone really say that Jones is at all similar to a guy like that?
Sure, there are different levels to consider when calling someone a dirty player. But in such a physical sport, most of those who have been labeled as such have gone out of their way to injure others, not the minuscule things that apparently warrant Jones to be in the same category.
We know how differently the media and NFL fans treat players and coaches employed by New England, which we've already seen since the league decided to investigate Gardner's claim instead of looking into the unnecessary roughness of that moment or even the Broncos player who had back-to-back weeks of knocking players unconscious, but that's a conversation for another day.
So could he just be the victim of circumstance? Perhaps that is just what this situation really is.
Regardless, it seems premature to accuse Jones of being one of the dirtiest players of all time, using this situation with Gardner as the reason to hammer the argument home.