Initial anger Antonio Garay held for Washington Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels has given way to understanding.
Samuels wasn’t trying to deliver a malicious hit when he chop blocked the Bears defensive tackle earlier this month at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., fracturing his right ankle and sending him to injured reserve.
``Initially, any person that was in that situation would be [angry at Samuels],’’ Garay said Wednesday as he sat at his locker in Halas Hall with crutches by his side. ``At the time, I knew I got chopped from behind so I was very [hacked] off about that to put it bluntly.
``But I don’t think in any way he did it intentionally or maliciously. I wish him good luck with the rest of his season.’’
Samuels was fined $12,500 by the NFL for the illegal hit, and he called coach Lovie Smith to apologize for the play. Still, none of that is going to make any of the grueling rehab ahead of Garay any easier. He’d fought his way up from the team’s practice squad to figure in the mix again, and with the banged up interior this would have been a chance for him to really showcase himself down the stretch.
``I thought I was getting ready to make a push in these last few games, I mean, I was planning on making the most of a golden opportunity,’’ he said. ``Obviously, it was cut very short. It was very unfortunate. People say things happen for a reason. But right now it’s all about what kind of reason I am going to turn this into.
``I’m just all about getting my career back on track,’’ he said. ``I’m on the road to recovery right now. I’m going to start up rehab and I’ll be as good as gold in no time.
``[Samuels] didn’t get ahold of me. I know he talked to Lovie on the phone. I have no ill will toward the guy. I mean, speed of the game, sometimes illegal things happen. Like I said, I was just on the wrong side of it.’’
Garay is scheduled to be a free agent.