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Leonhard: I didn't go for Turner's ankle

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Jim Leonhard wore an incredulous look on his boyish face, wondering what Michael Turner was talking about.

Turner, the Falcons' Pro Bowl running back, reinjured his right ankle on the first carry of Sunday's game when Leonhard tackled him after a 7-yard gain up the middle. Turner was forced to watch the rest of the game from the sideline.

After the game, he hinted he thought the Jets and Leonhard were specifically targeting his injury, an assertion the 5-8, 186-pound safety laughed off as absurd. "The only time you can have an opportunity to think about something like that is if he's held up in a pile or you are laying on the ground twisting his ankle or something," Leonhard said. "That's the only time that you even think about, 'Oh, he's got a bad ankle.'

". . . Very first play of the game and he comes running clean through a hole. I didn't know which ankle was bad. It's not like I'm trying to go for an ankle. I'm trying to get the man to the ground.

"He's an All-Pro running back. I'm not worried about trying to hit him on a bad ankle or anything. It's just one of those things that happened. There was no intent to hurt Michael Turner."

Rex Ryan came to Leonhard's defense.

"It's a ridiculous statement," he said. "Michael Turner is 250 pounds. Jim Leonhard is about a buck-90. The only thing they have in common is their ankles are the same size. You've got to tackle what you can tackle. If he's up top, we're talking about why the guy ran him over. He's a running back. He's going to get hit."

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Apparently, Ryan was pictured throwing the ball at referee Ron Winter's feet when Sunday's game ended. Ryan clarified what happened.

"He flipped the ball back to me, I spiked the ball," Ryan said. "No sense in us having a game ball. We just got beat. So I don't know if he thought I was [Falcons coach] Mike Smith or we had won or what . . . I never spiked it on the guy. Whatever."

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