There are many schools of thought surrounding the Saints bounty program and the way in which Roger Goodell has handled it. On one side, you have people like Eli Manning who believe there is no place in football for rewarding a player for injuring an opponent. On the other, you have someone like LaDainian Tomlinson who doesn’t even think the Saints should have been punished. Bernard Pollard is one of those Tomlinson people. In fact, he may even be one of those James Harrison people.
“It really has gotten way out of hand,” Pollard said during an interview with KILT in Houston. “You’re penalizing a coach for coming out of his pocket to say, ‘If somebody hits this guy — not hit him illegally, hit him — and take him out’ … First game we played the Houston Texans they (played) without Andre Johnson. We were happy. You know what I’m saying? It’s just one of those things where nobody’s trying to be mean, but at the end of the day if you don’t have a good player, that is a edge you have to win, or to help your offense. So it’s gotten way out of hand.”
It isn’t just the bounty punishment that Pollard takes issue with. He did add that he doesn’t want “to say anything against Roger Goodell” — so he’s saying “with all due respect” — but Bernard also believes flags for illegal hits have reached a ridiculous point as well.
“Well, when a receiver catches the ball, he’s trying to get to the ground,” he said. “But we were already in that position first — now … helmet-to-helmet, but now you’re penalizing the defender and give them 15 yards plus the reception. It’s getting out of hand. This is not powderpuff football, this is not flag football. This is a violent sport.”
Guys like Pollard and Harrison can complain all they want, but the rules aren’t going to change. If anything, the league will continue to do more to protect its players. Those who can’t learn to adjust will continue to cost their teams.
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