MARCO ISLAND, Fla. (KDKA/AP) – Sean Morey, a former Steeler and current member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, thinks the NFL’s proposed changes to improve player safety are misguided.
Morey said, “generally what they’ve done is try to blame players for how violent the game has become. They had ample opportunity to look at the science and make practical changes and give coaches an opportunity to coach players, and give the players realistic expectations of how they should change the way they hit. And they didn’t.”
He said rules changes being proposed by the league’s competition committee – including adjustments to kickoffs – don’t address the real problems of keeping players healthy.
Morey suggested that the league should hold players accountable when injuries happen, instead of changing the game.
On Wednesday, the NFL proposed a list of changes to the game to help prevent player injuries. They also said repeat offenders of illegal hits will be subject to suspension.
At next week’s owners meetings in New Orleans, the competition committee will suggest moving kickoffs up five yards to the 35, as well as bringing kickoff touchbacks to the 25. The committee also is proposing the elimination of blocking wedges on kickoff returns.
“The injury rate on kickoffs remains a real concern for us, and the players and the coaches’ subcommittee,” said Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee.
Morey also said he didn’t like that players had to try to get changes to off-season and in-season practice schedules through mediated labor talks that broke off last week.
“At the end of the day, why should we be negotiating for our own health and safety? It’s unfortunate. We’ve had to provide every solution to their problem,” said Morey, who retired last year.