Players & Coaches React To Helmet to Helmet Hits
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NEW YORK (AP) What they are saying about the NFL handing out suspensions for illegal hits:
“My opinion is play the game like that game is supposed to be played, and whatever happens, happens. If you go into the game thinking about any of that stuff, I’m telling you, the game will be diluted very quickly. You look at the James Harrison hit, all these hits, whatever they may be, the bottom line is those are hits that you go into your defensive room and you’re getting praised for. Because that’s the way the game of football is supposed to be played.” - Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
“We’re going to be playing flag football in about five years.” – Cowboys linebacker Bradie James.
“I think it’ll be something that can be adapted to and most people won’t notice a difference.” - Jaguars linebacker Aaron Kampman.
“The league is driven by big hits and fans want to see big hits and ooh and aah. Obviously fans don’t want to see what happened to some of the players this weekend with the concussions. But I think it’s a tough thing to stop because guys are trying to make plays and guys are trying to get off the field on defense, and they want to hit guys and get on highlight reels and things like that.” – Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
“There is still going to be great collisions … but it’s still going to be a physical game. We just have to eliminate that helmet as a weapon; that son of a gun is pretty hard material right there. If we could just get that out of the picture there on some of the shots, I think that’s all the league is asking for.” - Eagles coach Andy Reid.
“I think something that’s kind of interesting is they fined (Steelers linebacker James) Harrison $75,000 (and are) selling his picture of the hit online for one of the best-selling photos of the week. They want to fine a guy that much, but they also want to make more money off it because of photoshop.” – Bears place kicker Robbie Gould.
“That’s the thing, how do you dial it back when you’re running as fast as you can. Let’s not forgot, this is how you make a living. He’s going to catch the ball and have success or he’s not. You have a chance to make that not happen, and then you’re going to get the praise and you’re going to win the game.” - Broncos defensive lineman Justin Bannan.
“I think what guys start to do – defensive players and even some offensive players – is you start to second-guess yourself: ‘Do I really want to get this fine?’ And you kind of cringe, and you don’t tackle the way you are (normally).” – Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
“It’s kind of, for the lack of a better term, it’s kill or be killed. Obviously that’s the wrong way to put it with these situations, but are you going to be the hammer or the nail? That’s not good enough to just hit each other. You have to hit that guy and make a tackle after that, or he has to finish you. This a high-performance business. You have to do what they ask and do it well.” – Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson.
“I don’t think anybody in this locker room’s going to change the way they play right now. I think it remains to be seen how they’re going to judge these things and how picky so we’ll see how everything plays out before anyone changes their mindset.” - Vikings linebacker Ben Leber.
“There might be a lot of missed tackles in the next couple of weeks. When you see a guy wide open, I’m pretty sure a few defensive guys around the league are going to be a bit hesitant. I think you can’t slow down in this game, not at this level. Unfortunately, I think there will probably be some hits, because you can’t slow down, or else you’ll get hurt that way, too.” – Broncos defensive back Nate Jones.
“I don’t know what the NFL is doing, man. They are making things so hard to play the game of football. They’re fining defensive guys. That situation with Dunta (Robinson), to me is totally unacceptable. It wasn’t like he was headhunting the guy. He hit him in the chest and still they’re fining the guy. It was a big topic so they had to go out on a limb and make fines really, really high. I just hope it doesn’t affect the game of football, because you can’t hesitate in this game.” - Falcons wide receiver Roddy White.
“It’s scary, to be honest with you, because you see the ramifications that can come from multiple concussions. You tend to worry about that. I change my helmet every year. I try to find the newest and best equipment out there considering what I do. I tend to block a lot more. For me, being knocked out a few years ago made me rethink the whole thing.” – Redskins fullback Mike Sellers.
“I just think if there was a way that the replay official could help determine whether the thing was actually a foul or not, that would just help clean the game up in that regard. I know it might slow it down a little bit, but when you’re talking about things that happen too fast and you’re asking the official to be so critical and analytical on what happened, I think that just makes sense.” – Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.
“This is pro football. It’s predicated on physical violence, is it not? You try to be more physical than the guy in front of you, that’s the nature of the game. Accidents will happen.” – Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene.