The NFL did a lot of talking this offseason about the need to cut down on head injuries, but so far it appears to have had no impact on the approach players take to the game.Sunday’s games involved two vicious hits–one to Baltimore’s Todd Heap, the other to Philly’s DeSean Jackson–where the defender led with his helmet and did serious damage to the receiver. Both left their games with injuries, and Jackson did not return.
Jackson was hit by Atlanta’s cornerback Dunta Robinson who, like many defensive backs, lowered his head to deliver the blow and in the process nearly knocked himself out as well. Several other players, including Detroit’s Zack Follett and Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs were also knocked out games this weekend.
All of these terrible hits are underscored, of course, by Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand who was paralysed below the neck in his game on Saturday. It was a horrifying reminder of what can happen on a football field when players hurl themselves across the ground without regard for anything expect landing a jarring hit.
Apparently, Robinson and New England’s Brandon Meriweather (who hit Heap) haven’t learned that lesson yet. So will the NFL teach it to them? Fines and penalties don’t appear to be enough. Until players start getting suspended, they are unlikely to alter their behaviour.
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