Texans rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. was kicked off the field Monday during a joint practice with the Packers after the second-round pick made two big hits in what was supposed to be a non-tackling session.
The first hit came when Johnson tackled Packers tight end Jace Sternberger, resulting in Sternberger’s helmet coming off. Johnson stood over Sternberger and flexed before several Packers players confronted Johnson. The Green Bay rookie was evaluated for a concussion. .
The Texans rookie also hit Green Bay receiver Trevor Davis on a kickoff return, which is when Houston coach Bill O’Brien stepped in and removed Johnson from practice.
While O’Brien downplayed the incident, saying it was “not a big deal,” many Packers spoke out against Johnson.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said: “I thought there was no place for that. We addressed it. It’s an unfortunate deal, because I was pretty clear with our guys we’re not doing that stuff.”
Green Bay receiver Davante Adams called the hits “unnecessary,” and tight end Jimmy Graham said Johnson’s antics were “kind of ridiculous.”
“We take care of each other up here. I don’t know how they practice, I don’t know what they do over there, but there’s consequences for stuff like that,” Adams told reporters (via ESPN). “It’s a brotherhood across the league, period. I had plenty of times where I could take somebody out, but I decided not to because I felt like that’s not the appropriate thing to do when we’re trying to get better and look out for one another.”
— Ryan Sorensen (@FF_RyanS) August 5, 2019
Graham added: “Obviously he’s a rookie and he needs to know you can’t be hitting guys live in practice. … And we’re not going to stand for that here, obviously. … We know you’re going to blow him up in a game. This isn’t a game. We’re going to play on Thursday. You can do that then. It’s one of those things, rookie on rookie, but [No.] 32 has to chill out.”
ESPN notes Johnson didn’t speak to reporters after practice, but he wrote on Twitter: “Not trying to hurt nobody just wanna be great!”