Anthony Barr on Rodgers hit: 'I'm not a dirty player'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr says he did not aim to hurt Aaron Rodgers when he hit the Green Bay Packers quarterback outside the pocket and fractured his collarbone.

"By no means was I trying to injure or take out Aaron Rodgers," Barr said Friday. "He's one of, if not, the best player in this league. I'm not a dirty player. I don't play dirty. We don't preach that around here.

"It's unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt. It's a gift and a privilege to be able to play on the field each week, so I would never try and take that away from anybody, let alone one of the best players in our game."

Barr was the subject of strong criticism from Packers coach Mike McCarthy earlier this week and received immense backlash from fans on social media during the game.

"When I got back to my phone at halftime, I had like 3,000 notifications," Barr said. "Mostly not too kind words. I get it. I understand where they're coming from."

The NFL on Friday deemed Barr's hit legal by not fining him. The league, however, did hand down a $9,115 fine for his head-butt of Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

The tackle occurred six plays into the Packers' second drive. Rodgers rolled out of the pocket to his right and threw a pass to Martellus Bennett, which the tight end dropped. Barr followed through on what he called a routine tackle, saying he would not have done anything differently.

"I think I hit Jameis [Winston] similar earlier in the season and nobody mentioned it," Barr said. "It's a dirty play in some people's eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up, we're not having this conversation. I wish him a speedy recovery. [He's] one of my favorite players to compete against, play against.

"You're running so fast, I'm just trying to make a play. I'm not trying to injure the guy by any means."

Barr does not have the luxury to slow down a play frame-by-frame like those watching on television to dissect how he could have altered the impact he made with Rodgers. At game speed, Barr has a split second to react, which makes him confident in how he followed through with his tackling motion.

"Everybody has a still photo of him getting the ball out and me being ... that's less than a quarter of a second. After that, I was tackling him," he said. "It's just football, man. It happens. It's unfortunate."

Barr does wish he had not head-butted Adams, though. After Xavier Rhodes intercepted a Brett Hundley pass with 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Barr was given an unsportsmanlike penalty that moved the Vikings from the Packers' 27-yard line to the 42-yard line.

"That's not me being dirty. That's just me being stupid," Barr said. "It cost my team 15 yards in a crucial situation. Getting a turnover, I was just way too excited. I need to celebrate with my teammates instead of talking to the opponent. I will learn from that mistake."

Barr finished the first half of the Vikings' 23-10 win but was ruled out for the remaining two quarters with a concussion. Head-butting Adams was not the play Barr believes caused his injury.

The linebacker said he sustained a concussion several plays before Ty Montgomery dropped a would-be touchdown for the Packers late in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph collided with Barr when the two were trying to take down Montgomery on second-and-9 four plays before.

"I think my own guy got me," Barr said. "I felt fine until I got sidelined and I kind of didn't feel right. That's when they took me out."

Barr was a full participant in practice Friday after being limited on Thursday and a spectator on Wednesday. Coach Mike Zimmer confirmed that Barr had been removed from the NFL's concussion protocol when he spoke to the media on Friday.