At a time when the NFL is preparing to require players to wear more pads, the Buffalo Bills have taken the process a step farther.
Coach Chan Gailey is requiring all offensive linemen to wear knee braces during training camp.
“No, they don’t like it, but I think they’re smart enough to understand
why,” Gailey said, per the Associated Press. “With all the injuries we’ve had around here, I think that they
weren’t quite as reluctant.”
Gailey, along with offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, began considering the approach 20 years ago. “I believe it because I know it, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” Gailey said. “I’ve seen bent knee braces come off the practice field and
the guy’s not hurt. So I know it works.”
The players aren’t thrilled by the requirement, even though they know it’s for their own good. “It’s an extra pound or two on each leg,” guard Eric Wood said.
It’s only a matter of time, in our view, before more teams impose the requirement for practice — and before the league does it for all games. With the league serious about enhancing (i.e., expanding) the regular season, the NFL and its teams have every reason to remove any and all preventable injuries from the sport. If braces help keep knees from getting shredded, making braces a standard part of the lineman uniform is a no-brainer.