Former Packers tight end calls out The Rock after taking dirty hit in UFL opener

Jace Sternberger was understandably frustrated.
Jace Sternberger
Jace Sternberger / Sam Hodde/UFL/GettyImages

Former Green Bay Packers tight end Jace Sternberger played an important role in the UFL's season opener, but he wasn't happy after taking a dirty hit.

Sternberger helped the Birmingham Stallions defeat the Arlington Renegades in the league's first game, catching two passes for 32 yards.

So, let's rewind for a moment. What is the UFL?

It is a merger between the United States Football League (USFL) and the XFL. Last year's champions of the respective leagues—the Stallions and Renegades—met in the opening game of the UFL's first season on Saturday.

Sternberger, who starred for the Stallions in the USFL last year, made an immediate impact. However, he was frustrated after taking a late hit.

Former Packers third-round pick Jace Sternberger calls out The Rock

Sternberger has good reason to be frustrated. After making a catch, he was stopped by three Renegades defenders. Despite the play being seemingly over, Renegades cornerback Steven Jones Jr. made an unnecessary low hit with his helmet, hitting Sternberger in the side of the leg and knocking him to the ground.

It was a dirty hit. There was no need for it as Sternberger wasn't going anywhere and had three defenders around him. Fortunately, the Packers' former third-round pick didn't get hurt, but he did voice his frustration on social media.

"Lmao imagine if I would've got hurt bc this bullsh-t. Cmon now @TheRock," Sternberger wrote.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is one of the UFL's owners and is effectively the face of the league. He introduced the opening game by thanking the fans and spent time on commentary during the Stallions-Renegades showdown.

Another former Packers player, Kurt Benkert, called out the hit on Sternberger. He previously spent time in the XFL.

"Straight up, that's why I didn't want to play again. Broken ribs on a deliberate hit in my first start," said Benkert in response to Sternberger's tweet. "There aren't any fines or anything, so there's zero incentive not to take people out."

Sternberger responded: "Man bc that's atleast 50K in the league."

It's a fair point. The NFL has prioritized player safety in recent years and often hands out hefty fines, or even suspensions, for players who make dirty plays. The UFL wants to have an entertaining league that interests the fans, but player safety also needs to be a priority.

It didn't work out for Sternberger with the Packers, but a strong performance in the UFL could help him land with another NFL team. Last year, he led the USFL in receiving touchdowns, which led to an opportunity with the Buffalo Bills. He will hope to make a similar impact for the Stallions this spring.

Sternberger was understandably angry about the late hit and directed his frustration at The Rock. Maybe there's still time for Sternberger to get added to The Rock's WrestleMania main event next weekend.

More Packers news and analysis