If Carolina safety Mike Mitchell is waiting for an apology from Harvey Dahl, he’s in for a long wait.

“I’m not going to apologize for playing with passion, or trying to protect my teammates,” Dahl said. “What happened was pretty messed up, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

Mitchell ended quarterback Sam Bradford’s season with a sideline hit, that while legal didn’t have to be made. Bradford was clearly headed out of bounds on a fourth-quarter scramble when Mitchell pushed him out of bounds with a hard shove.

Bradford landed awkwardly and suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Right after the play concluded, Mitchell celebrated by puffing out his chest and extending both arms skyward. He was facing Bradford, who was on the ground writhing in pain.

“It was a pretty routine play, a quarterback running out of bounds,” Dahl said. “It happens every week on every team in the NFL. So I don’t know what there was really to celebrate about that. He knew he knocked him to the ground. So I don’t know what he could possibly celebrate.”

Dahl immediately ran over and shoved Mitchell. Then Dahl went over to check on Bradford, who was just a few feet away. Dahl was enraged to find Bradford in such a state and went after Mitchell again.

Dahl was flagged for a personal foul. There was no flag on Mitchell for taunting.

Interestingly, the same thing happened early in the second quarter involving a Mitchell celebration. After a short completion to Rams tight end Cory Harkey near the St. Louis sideline, Mitchell was the second man in for Carolina on the tackle. Harkey was already going down before Mitchell made contact, so it was basically a free shot.

Mitchell responded with the same celebration, puffing out his chest and raising both arms skyward while facing Harkey only a few feet away.

Isn’t that supposed to be taunting?

“I believe so,” Dahl said. “And I don’t know if the league has done anything about it, or will do anything about it. That’s up to them now.”

Dahl’s personal foul involving Mitchell was his second such infraction of the day. At the start of the fourth quarter, Dahl received a personal foul penalty for a late shove on Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Dahl said Wednesday that he was fined the league minimum, $7,875, for the late hit on Kuechly. He said he was not fined for going after Mitchell, perhaps an admission by the league that it botched the situation.

Referring to the fine he was assessed, Dahl said, “That doesn’t really bother me. The league is gonna do what they’re gonna do. That’s just gonna come with the way we play. We’re gonna keep on playing with passion, going out there and playing physical and going after people.”

After the Houston game, Bradford praised Dahl for watching his back on a play where Dahl tried to get Texans linebacker Brian Cushing off of Bradford following a Bradford scramble. Cushing was flagged and later fined for a late hit on that play.

Now, Dahl will be protecting Kellen Clemens with Bradford’s season done.

“Obviously, Sam’s a very good quarterback and he’s our guy,” Dahl said. “I know it’s impossible for him to (play). But I know if the doctors would let him, he would brace that thing up and go. He’s a tough guy.

“But we’re gonna get behind Kellen (Clemens). Kellen’s prepared; he’s been preparing all year. He’s ready every week. We’re all gonna step our game up and get behind Kellen.”


With an extra practice day this week because of the Monday night game, the team worked out for about an hour Wednesday afternoon.

• Running back and kick returner Benny Cunningham (ankle) was the only Ram not participating Wednesday.

• Released Tuesday from the active roster to make room for quarterback Austin Davis, guard Brandon Washington cleared waivers Wednesday and will be signed to the practice squad.

Follow Jim Thomas on twitter @jthom1

Jim Thomas is the lead Rams beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.