For the second time in the 2014 NFL season, a defensive player's year has abruptly ended due to a botched celebration.
Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2014 campaign after an MRI Monday morning confirmed a torn ACL, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
Houston, 27, was injured while attempting to celebrate after sacking New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 51-23 loss. Leaping in the air, Houston landed awkwardly on his right knee and went to the turf. It appeared as if he would be OK after being picked up by a teammate, but Houston soon realized he couldn't put weight on the leg and was carted off the field.
"I have to get an MRI in the morning, hopefully everything is good, but we'll see tomorrow," Houston told reporters after the game. "I probably shouldn't have celebrated while they were blowing us out, but it happens. Landed wrong, tried to hop up, didn't feel right, so we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Trey Wingo of ESPN weighed in on the news given the nature of the injury:
Kevin Fishbain of ChicagoFootball.com also shared comments from Bears general manager Phil Emery on Houston:
'Obviously Lamarr had built up some frustration from not having a sack yet. We were very pleased with his play against the run and he led our team in hits on the quarterback, but he hadn’t had a sack,' Emery said. 'Obviously that’s a big stat in the NFL. It’s awfully big for a free agent coming in. He got his first sack, he let out all of his frustrations and ultimately paid a price for it.
'We’re disappointed for him and in him. He knows he made an error. He’s come into all of our offices and apologized for his error but ultimately the team paid a price and at the end of the day Lamarr paid a bigger price; he lost the season.'
Houston finishes his first season with the Bears with a disappointing 11 tackles and one sack.
Brought over on a five-year, $35 million contract from the Oakland Raiders, Houston and veteran Jared Allen were expected to revitalize Chicago's dormant pass rush. Instead, both have struggled in their new environments, with the 32-year-old Allen looking every bit his age and Houston's lone sack resulting in a season-ending injury.
While only $15 million of Houston's contract is guaranteed, the Bears don't really have the option of moving on in 2015. The dead money on Houston's deal ($9.91 million) exceeds his cap hit ($6.99 million), per Spotrac, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes that his 2015 base salary is fully guaranteed:
The Houston fiasco is merely the latest in a series of frustrating developments for Chicago. Viewed as a potential NFC North champion, the Bears have lost four of their last five games amid rumors of infighting.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Houston were reportedly the lead voices in a heated postgame meeting after the Bears' loss to Miami in Week 7. While Marshall took the brunt of the outside criticism, Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported that Houston was just as impassioned as the enigmatic wideout. Houston's comments centered on his desire to win after years of futility in Oakland.
A week later, a momentary lapse in judgement will force Houston's teammates to turn the season around without him.
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