Chiefs LB Justin Houston on Jimmy Garoppolo injury: 'That was his fault'

Jimmy Garoppolo’s ACL tear is one of the first truly game-changing injuries of the NFL season, a bad break for the San Francisco 49ers that all but slams shut their playoff hopes.

Justin Houston doesn’t care.

The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker had little sympathy for Garoppolo’s plight, laying full blame on the the 49ers quarterback for his injury suffered Sunday against the Chiefs.

“That was his fault,” Houston said, per Pro Football Talk. “I pray he’s not hurt, nothing serious, but as a quarterback you should step out of bounds. It was only an inch. That inch wouldn’t have made a difference. You got the yardage you need, you step out of bounds. You got to be smart.”

Houston’s comments came prior to the confirmation of Garoppolo’s ACL tear, but the sentiment is the same. It was a foregone conclusion that his season was over before a test confirmed the bad news.

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KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes plants on his left leg at the sideline on a play in which he would be injured during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes plants on his left leg at the sideline on a play in which he would be injured during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes plants on his left leg at the sideline on a play in which he would be injured during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Sep 23, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) attends to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers lays on his back on the sideline after being injured on the play during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers and the team training staff examine quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 on the sideline after being hurt on a play during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers is carted off the field after an injury during the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
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Garoppolo injured on critical third-down play

Garoppolo suffered the injury on a third-down scramble in the red zone late in the fourth quarter with the 49ers looking to overcome a 14-point deficit. He suffered the injury while planting his foot bracing for a hit on the sideline. He put his body on the line in a desperate game situation and ended up paying the price while fighting for a first down.

Sacrificing one’s body in an NFL game is usually a source of praise, not derision from fellow players. Houston’s take is a surprising one.

Houston’s animus a product of QB coddling?

But as quarterbacks are increasingly coddled in the NFL at the cost of defensive players, there is resentment growing over the way the game’s most valuable players are treated on the field.

It’s not a stretch to believe that a defensive player could derive a sense of satisfaction saying out loud that a quarterback’s injury was the result of his own play and decision making rather than that of a tackler.

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