University of Texas defensive end/ linebacker Breckyn Hager got the blood of some Red Raider football fans boiling Monday after a press conference where he discussed his team’s upcoming matchup with Texas Tech. Hager said Monday morning that he intended to injure TTU star quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. He expressed the sentiment multiple times, then issued a public apology later in the day.
The Texas Tech football fans who spoke with EverythingLubbock.com Saturday were certainly upset with the statements Hager made about their beloved quarterback.
“If you’re on this defense you should be excited, going to sleep every night just dreaming about hitting Mahomes,” Hager said to the media Monday.
He made other similar comments:
“It makes me feel like I have to go injure the quarterback, that’s how it makes me feel,” he said.
“That’s the mentality right now, we gotta take him out , we know he’s banged up, we just gotta get after him,” Hager added.
These comments didn’t sit well with fans, especially in light of Mahomes II’s efforts to overcome recent injuries.
“[Mahomes is] already struggling with a shoulder injury and for someone to say they’re going to target him and try to hurt him intentionally, it’s just ridiculous,” said Caleb Peganyee, a Texas Tech senior.
UT Football tweeted out apology statements from both Hager and coach Charlie Strong.
Hager’s statement said in part, “When I go out there, I want to play my most aggressive game, but I’m not trying to do anything to physically injure someone.” He went on to express his respect for Mahomes II and his hopes that the public could accept his apology.
But despite the apologies, the damage has already been done in the eyes of many Texas Tech fans.
“Personally that kinda offends me, being a strong supporter of Texas Tech,” said TTU first year student Lance Lebron.
Many fans expressed their disbelief on social media, including Patrick Mahomes II’ father, Pat Mahomes Sr., who took to Twitter after hearing the comments at the press conference.
Over the phone, Mahones Sr. explained how he felt after listening to the press conference.
“I was shocked when I heard it, it’s all taken with a grain of salt, but I was just shocked that it was made public,” Mahomes said. He added that he understands football can be a violent game. But he said the comments made him worried, “like any parent would be” in hearing that someone wanted to injure their son.
Mahomes Sr. didn’t believe the comments would impact his son much on the field.
“He has one thing on his mind: that it’s time to win the game and be a competitor. All you can do is perform to the best of your ability and whatever happens, happens,” he said.
Many TTU football fans said what bothered them most about Hager’s comments was that he clearly expressed intent to hurt another player.
“Bad intention is really the key point, it’s really bad for them to sit there and say, ‘Oh I have the intentions of hurting and injuring somebody,’– everyone’s got that rivalry but, going forward and saying you’re gonna do that intentionally? It’s kinda messed up,” said Texas Tech student Natalie Campbell.
“To stop defense or stop an offensive line, to sack the quarterback, I’m all for it,” student Lance Lebron added. “But you should never be [aiming] to hurt someone– that’ s not what the game’s made for.”
All the students we spoke with hope to attend the UT – Texas Tech game on November 5. They said this incident will make them more watchful of the UT players’ behavior.
But at the end of the day, student Caleb Peganyee pointed out, what matters most is what actually happens on the field Saturday.
“[Hager] can say whatever he wants, he’s still gotta get Patrick Mahomes down first and that’s proved to be hard for other defenses,” Peganyee pointed out.
The Texas Tech Athletics Department declined to comment to EverythingLubbock.com about this incident.