1 of 5 | Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (R) hits Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (C) in the knee during a game Monday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick says he disagrees with critics who have called him a dirty player, saying no malice was behind his tackle of Cleveland Browns star Nick Chubb that caused a season-ending injury.
Fitzpatrick made the comments to reporters Thursday in Pittsburgh.
"It was very unfortunate," Fitzpatrick said. "It's a tough, tough injury. Unfortunately, it's part of the game we play. I know there's people that [thought] I had ill will behind the tackle. It's not the case whatsoever.
"I'm a guy that's a competitor who's going to go out there and play the game. I'm chippy. I'm edgy, of course, but I'm not a dirty player."
Fitzpatrick hit Chubb in the second quarter of the Steelers' 26-22 win over the Browns on Monday in Steelers.
Chubb took a handoff on a first-and-goal play from the 8-yard line. He ran past the line of scrimmage and through a crowd of linemen.
Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb first made contact with Chubb and attempted to bring him to the ground. Fitzpatrick then ran toward Chubb, lowered his head and slammed into his left leg.
The contact caused Chubb's knee to bend awkwardly. He then was carted off the field.
Fitzpatrick said he spoke with Chubb and told him the hit was not intentional.
"Chubb knows the type of player I am," Fitzpatrick said. "I've played against him a bunch in the past. Five years, two times a year. I love competing against him.
"He brings the best out of me, and I bring the best out of him."
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced Tuesday that Chubb would undergo season-ending knee surgery. The Browns placed him on injured reserve Wednesday.
Chubb totaled 64 yards on 10 carries against the Steelers. Backup running back Jerome Ford logged 131 yards from scrimmage and a score on 19 touches.
The Browns signed veteran free agent running back Kareem Hunt to a 1-year contract Wednesday, adding depth behind Ford. Pierre Strong Jr. is the other running back on the Browns' roster.
Fitzpatrick totaled six combined tackles and two passes defensed in Monday's victory. He totaled 10 combined tackles through two games this season.
The Browns (1-1) will host the Tennessee Titans (1-1) at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday in Cleveland. The Steelers (1-1) will play the Las Vegas Raiders (1-1) at 8:20 p.m. Sunday in Las Vegas.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt celebrates with fans after his fumble recovery and 16-yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh on September 18, 2023. The Steelers defeated the Browns 26-22. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo