Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert won’t have to worry about being humiliated with an ugly haircut before he starts the team’s first preseason game.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said today that he’s not going to tolerate any rookie hazing on his team, ending a tradition in Jacksonville of veteran players giving hideous haircuts to their rookie teammates.
Rookie hazing has existed in the NFL for decades, and bad haircuts are often the hazing ritual of choice. Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (pictured) got a particularly appalling haircut last year.
Rookie hazing in the NFL has mostly been good natured, rarely more serious than forcing a rookie to carry a veteran’s pads, or taping a rookie to the goal posts. But there have been serious incidents, including Saints rookies Cam Cleeland and Jeff Danish suffering injuries during training camp hazing sessions in 1998.
Del Rio doesn’t want to risk anything getting out of control, and he surely doesn’t want to undermine Gabbert’s development as a team leader. So in Jacksonville, rookies will be treated the same as everyone else — or else the veterans responsible will have to answer to Del Rio.