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#pounditSunday, November 29, 2020

Cam Heyward: Targeting rule in NFL would be ‘stupid’

Juju Smith-Schuster Vontaze Burfict

This offseason, the NFL will once again consider implementing a targeting rule similar to the one currently used in college football. Not surprisingly, many players are strongly opposed to the idea.

When asked about the possibility of targeting making its way to the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said he feels the idea is “stupid.”

“Stupid,” Heyward said. “A 15-yard (penalty) can be very detrimental. Now you’re costing a team a player?”

Heyward cited JuJu Smith-Schuster’s illegal crack-back block on Vontaze Burfict in Monday night’s game as an example of a player who does not deserve to be ejected from a game.

“Guys aren’t trying to hurt you,” he added. “I know JuJu didn’t deliberately try to hurt (Burfict). It was a big play and he just thought he was doing his job and doing it well. Obviously he shouldn’t stand over anybody, but he was already apologetic (to his teammates) during the play. You’re gonna already hit his paycheck.”

For those who are unfamiliar with the targeting rule, it gives NCAA officials the ability to use their discretion to eject players who make forcible contact to the head and neck area of opponents. All of the plays are reviewed before a final decision is made, which is one concern the NFL has had about adopting the rule. As of now, judgment calls in the NFL aren’t reviewable. The league has also been trying to avoid slowing down games.

While the rule is unlikely to pass, there’s no question it helps make the game of football safer. Eventually, the NFL may have no choice.

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