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Church Still Catching Flak for Rivers' Tackle

I got a lot of grief: Church

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    TK
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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 and punter Mike Scifres #5 of the San Diego Chargers walk off the field after the Chargers 27-24 win against the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game on December 20, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Philip Rivers

    Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers knows what his teammates thought of his touchdown-saving tackle in last Saturday's preseason game.

    Afterward, Antwan Applewhite told him “that's why you're my hero.” Donald Strickland described him as a guy “I'd definitely go to battle with.”

    Stephen Cooper said the entire team was hyped to see Rivers' tackle, even though it was “so unorthodox” and “really looked unathletic” to watch Rivers sprint and weave 70 yards before ending the fumble return at the Chargers' 8-yard line.

    All that reflection and playful jabbing pales in comparison to what Barry Church, the Cowboys safety whom Rivers tackled, has reportedly experienced from his Dallas teammates.

    “I got a lot of grief," Church told the Bellingham Herald on Tuesday. "It was, 'Man, he wears a knee brace. You let a quarterback catch you,' and, 'Man, I can't believe that.' I got everything, every word in the book."

    Some of the more poignant jokes involved Jon Kitna, the Cowboys backup quarterback who will turn 38 in September.

    "Hey, you know even Kitna would have caught you," teammate Danny McCray said to Church.

    Kitna piled on.

    "I think I've got better moves than Church does," Kitna said. "I know that. I would have scored.”