The NFL has spent the past several years trying to adjust the rules of the game in a manner that will protect players from head trauma. Concussions have become a major in the sport, and lawsuits from former players continue to pile up against the league. One report even claimed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is “terrified” of the prospect of a player dying on the field.
But it’s not just head shots that have become a concern. Now that players are prohibited from targeting the head, serious knee injuries could become more common. Now, the NFL is reportedly planning to study hits to the knees to see if the rules need to be further tweaked, which has infuriated Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark.
“I’m so disgusted with the NFL right now about those situations,” Clark said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If an offensive player makes enough of a stink, they’ll change it. I know Tony Gonzalez was extremely upset about the hit on Dustin Keller. I understand that.”
Clark then referred to a play last season when he gave up a touchdown against the New York Giants and Victor Cruz because he was afraid of breaking the rules.
“So you go to the other extreme,” he said. “If they decide to change this rule, they might as well put flags on because you’ll give a guy who is 200 pounds, like myself, a 2-foot area to stop a guy who is 240 or 250 running at full speed. They might as well just take us off the field and see how many points you can score on offense in 60 minutes.”
Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller is out for the season with a torn ACL after Houston Texans defensive back DJ Swearinger hit him low. Swearinger later claimed he went low to avoid breaking the rules, and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez followed that up by saying he would rather be hit in his head than have defenders diving at his knees.
Anytime there is talk of a rule change, players are up in arms. Clark certainly isn’t the only person who would be outraged if the NFL made low hits illegal, but the league is trying to create the impression that player safety is its priority. If they stick to that theme, more changes are sure to come.Google+