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There was a scary moment at Panthers practice on Tuesday that ended with receiver Keith Kirkwood being hospitalized after taking a vicious hit from safety J.T. Ibe

Panthers coach Matt Rhule was so upset with the hit that he decided to cut Ibe after practice ended. Following his release from the team, Ibe didn't get a chance to meet with the media, but he did do a brief one-on-one interview with the Charlotte Observer

During the interview, Ibe made it clear that he wasn't trying injure Kirkwood and that it only happened because it was a bang-bang play. 

"I was so in the moment, I didn't even realize it," Ibe said. "I just saw the ball and him and I wanted to interrupt it. It wasn't me aiming for his head. It was just me trying to jar the ball out." 

After the hit, Ibe quickly realized how serious the injury was and he immediately wanted to apologize. 

"I just felt bad," Ibe said. "I looked at him when I landed, and I just felt bad. I asked the trainers to tell him I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hit him like that. It wasn't intentional at all and I'm praying he's OK. Obviously, I'm in an emotional state right now, but at the end of the day it's not about me -- it's about Keith being OK."

The "Panthers on Tap podcast" caught the hit on video and shared it on Twitter. In the video, you can see Kirkwood running a route across the middle and then taking a brutal hit from Ibe as he tries to catch the ball. 

On one hand, Ibe's side of the story definitely makes sense: It looks like he was trying to make a play on the ball. On the other hand, this is training camp and you should do whatever you can to make sure you don't drill your teammate in the head, even if it's on accident. 

"I just want everybody out there just to know I'm a good dude and this is not my game," Ibe said. "I'm not a dirty player, I don't have any dirty hits on my record. I just feel bad."

Ibe was released because Rhule felt like the safety was trying to "tee off" on Kirkwood. 

"That completely unacceptable to do something like that," Rhule said. "There's things, bang-bang plays, that happen. Guys will hit the ground, but you can't tee off on somebody. That's not what we'll do. It's undisciplined by us, so that can't happen."

Ibe was signed in April 2021 as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina. As for Kirkwood, although he did avoid serious injury, he was diagnosed with a concussion. The receiver was also released from the hospital on Tuesday just hours after the hit.