NFL vows tougher disciplinary measures for illegal hits to head
One day after a series of jarring hits by defensive players in games that left offensive players with head injuries, a top NFL official vowed Monday that the league will crack down on dangerous, illegal hits by utilizing more severe disciplinary measures.
Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, said players potentially will be suspended for illegal hits to an opponent's head even if it is a first offense for the player involved.
"The hits from [Sunday's games] are going through our normal review process," Anderson said. "You can anticipate going forward, in the event of a hit that is flagrant or unnecessarily exposes someone to injury, we're going to be aggressive with elevated discipline, possibly including a suspension for a first offense. We need to dispel the notion that you get a free pass for a first offense.... We're going to another level of accountability."
The league's reaction came after several high-profile plays during Sunday's games. Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson reportedly suffered a severe concussion on a hit by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson. Two Cleveland Browns players, wide receiver and kick returner Joshua Cribbs and wideout Mohamed Massaquoi, suffered head injuries on hits Sunday by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison.
"It's not just helmet-to-helmet hits," Anderson said in a telephone interview. "Hits to the head that are flagrant and egregious and against the rules, we're going to circle back and take a look at them. The events of [Sunday] were certainly disturbing to all of us. It seemed like every time you turned around, there was another player on the ground for an extended period. We feel compelled to be aggressive and proactive. We don't want another Darryl Stingley on one of our fields."
Stingley, a wide receiver the New England Patriots, suffered a broken neck in an on-field collision with Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum during an exhibition game in August 1978 and was left a quadriplegic. Stingley spent the remainder of his life in a wheelchair and died in 2007 at age 55. Tatum's hit was legal under the sport's rules at the time.
The NFL has enacted rules in recent years to protect players, including quarterbacks and wide receivers, deemed to be in defenseless positions during games. Defenders first were barred from delivering helmet-to-helmet hits on such players. Last offseason, those protections were extended to make other hits to the head--those with a defender's shoulder or forearm--also illegal.
October 18, 2010; 4:59 PM ET
Save & Share:
Previous: NFL, union to provide coverage to retired players with ALS | Next: Suspensions possible for illegal hits last weekend
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: pariahdecss | October 19, 2010 5:36 AM
Posted by: TogetherinParis | October 19, 2010 3:17 AM
Posted by: jrzarco2001 | October 18, 2010 11:49 PM
Posted by: blondon | October 18, 2010 7:50 PM
Posted by: annfried07 | October 18, 2010 7:20 PM
Posted by: 6thandD | October 18, 2010 6:53 PM
Posted by: nan_lynn | October 18, 2010 6:51 PM
Posted by: michaelcharliedelta | October 18, 2010 6:49 PM
Posted by: fergusonws | October 18, 2010 6:31 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.