NEW YORK (KDKA/AP) — Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward might not agree with the members of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee who said the league shouldn’t have an official helmet anymore.
Ward made comments about the NFL not caring about players’ safety when the league has three different helmets. He says that if one is safer than the other, then they should mandate it across the league; but won’t because the NFL receives money from helmet makers.
Players can wear any helmet that passes a safety standard.
However, the NFL and Riddell have had a licensing/sponsorship arrangement since 1990, and teams were eligible for price breaks from Riddell in the past to use their helmets.
The committee met with representatives of helmet makers, engineers, the military and NASCAR to gather information about improving safety.
The NFL estimates that 75 percent of helmets used this season are made by Riddell, 23 percent are made by Schutt, one to two percent by Xenith and a handful by Adams USA.
Some topics that were discussed at the meeting were:
- Should there be changes to the way helmets are tested in laboratories;
- When might sensors in helmets, mouthguards and/or earpieces be used for on-field testing among NFL players;
- Should helmets be made for particular positions, so that a quarterback, for example, would wear equipment that is different from what a lineman wears;
- Should different safety standards be applied for helmets used in youth football and the NFL.
Dr. Robert Cantu, senior adviser to the league committee, said the NFL-Riddell relationship should be severed as soon as it can be contractually.