After a weekend of debilitating hits, the NFL said they would start suspending players for helmet to helmet hits and split NFL players on the issue. Josh Looney caught up with a few Chiefs players to get their take on the new policy.
“Is it a good thing? I think it’s the rules and playing by the rules is what we have to do. If the NFL says that we’re going to play with eight guys instead of eleven next week, then we’ll play with eight.
“I think its awareness and I think that guys are playing aggressive. I just don’t want to see guys giving up big plays down the field because they’re pulling off or maybe hitting a guy low and tearing his knees up. It’s unfortunate, because injuries are a part of this game. I’m sure that everybody that has gotten the memo or been coached or told about what’s going on is going to try and eliminate it and not do it. But is it going to stop it? No, it’s not going to stop it?”
“To be honest with you, I’m a little, how can I say this, a little torn because this is something that has been going on for years. I’m trying to be very careful with my words here, but the league came to the game very late on this to be honest with you. This is the same league that glorified big hits for years and there are football players that are still glorified to this day, we even saw some glorified on Monday Night for being big hitters.”
“I think as players that we all realize that we play a violent game and that every time we go on the field there is a chance of injury. But I also know that safety is very important and that they are taking precaution that players are being taken care of.”
Short of Pittsburgh’s James Harrison threatening to retire, most players around the league seems to be standing on the fence, including Waters, Vrabel and Cassel. This would be a sensitive subject at any time, but even more so with the players and owners trying to work out a new collective bargaining agreement.
As violent as the NFL is, no one goes out wanting to end someone’s career. At the same time, as Waters points out, these monster hits aren’t anything new, which makes it peculiar that they have chosen Week 7 to lay down the law seems too reactionary.
What makes it worse is that the league talked tough saying they would suspend players immediately and then sat on their hands, only handing out fines. I don’t think the NFL needs to start throwing suspensions around, but don’t go around screaming about needing to do it, have a full slate of hits that would qualify for a suspension under your new policy and then say “Oh, never mind… but maybe next week!”