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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LaMarr Woodley: NFL is ‘Turning Soft’

It’s no secret that plenty of players have a problem with the way the rules in the NFL have changed over the last few years. In an attempt to “protect” players from serious injury, the NFL has cracked down on head shots and what they deem to be unnecessary roughness.  Last season, Brian Urlacher called the new rules “bulls***” and James Harrison threatened to retire after being fined for a hit on a defenseless receiver.  Harrison’s teammate, LaMarr Woodley, thinks the NFL is ruining the game by adding new rules to protect players every season.

“Man, they’re getting ridiculous.  Football is turning soft now,” Woodley told Rich Gannon and Adam Schein on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “Too many fines.  Too many penalties protecting the quarterback every single play.  Defensive guys can’t be defensive guys no more.”

“Man, I think it’s so stupid.  I mean, it’s football.  I mean, that’s what you signed up for.  You signed up, when you played football you knew it was going to be an aggressive game.  There’s a chance of you getting hurt and having serious injuries.  So that’s what you signed up for.”

In reality, both sides have a point.  The NFL can’t allow players to lead with their helmets and hit guys late because they’ll have retired players suing them constantly.  We have already seen players like Ted Johnson claim they are messed up from playing with too many concussions.  At the same time, Woodley is right about it being what football players sign up for.  There is an inherent risk involved with playing football.  After all, any game that requires players to wear more gear than a U.S. soldier is probably pretty dangerous.

“We didn’t get six Lombardis by playing soft football,” Woodley continued. “We got them by playing aggressive football, hitting teams hard, and I don’t think that’ll ever change.  I don’t care how many times we get fined, that’s just the way we play football.  And that’s why we’re gonna keep racking up Lombardis, because that’s how we play football.”

The calls are still going to be made and likely be made more frequently with each passing year.  That doesn’t mean teams like the Steelers should change their approach.  There’s a difference between playing dirty and playing hard.  You can’t play in February if you don’t play hard all season.  If that means paying a few extra bucks along the way, the Rooneys will gladly make up the difference.

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