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Ike Taylor thinks knee injuries will increase as head injuries decrease

Andre Johnson,  Ike Taylor AP

Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor says he and his teammates have gotten the message from Roger Goodell: Don’t aim for the head.

“Guys getting fined heavily, especially on our team, we see the commissioner is really putting his foot down,” Taylor said on NFL Network.

But Taylor raises a point that arose in Pittsburgh’s playoff loss at Denver: James Harrison, the Steelers linebacker who has become the poster boy for the NFL’s crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits, went low on Broncos receiver Eric Decker and injured Decker’s knee. Broncos boss John Elway later linked Decker’s injury to Harrison’s fines. And Taylor said head injuries may have declined in the NFL, but the price players are paying is more shots to their knees.

“But then again, will knee injuries go up? As a football player — and it’s kind of crazy for me to say this — I would rather have a head injury than a knee injury,” Taylor said. “But long-term, I guess the commissioner is looking at the head injuries after football.”

Asked if defensive backs are more likely to aim for the knee because they’ve been told not to aim for the head, Taylor said, “I would think so.”

The NFL’s attempt to cut down on head injuries is admirable, but like a lot of admirable attempts to increase safety, it may have unintended consequences. And Taylor is surely speaking for many of his colleagues when he says he’d rather have a head injury than a knee injury.

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45 Responses to “Ike Taylor thinks knee injuries will increase as head injuries decrease”
  1. gregmas1970 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:51 AM

    His comments prove that for Ike Taylor, any blow to his head would cause minimal damage.

  2. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 28, 2012 9:52 AM

    He’s 100% correct.

  3. joetoronto says: Mar 28, 2012 9:54 AM

    Well, it’s not rocket science, you have to hit the guy somewhere.

  4. derfshambeaux says: Mar 28, 2012 9:54 AM

    Swaggin

  5. contract says: Mar 28, 2012 9:54 AM

    We will likely see more broken necks too as a result of tacklers going low.

  6. taintedsaints2009 says: Mar 28, 2012 9:56 AM

    maybe the nfl should teach it’s players how to tackle properly. it’s rare to see a good, form tackle anymore. my coaches practically threw me off my team when i arm tackled somebody, which is the way the nfl seems to go by now.

  7. 49erstim says: Mar 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    Lower your target area. Hit a guy in the midsection and WRAP UP! Problem solved. Stop trying to get on Sportscenter. I’m so sick of hearing the boo-whooing from defenders. This isn’t rocket science kids.

  8. oxfordthecat says: Mar 28, 2012 10:06 AM

    It seems to me that the kind of person that would prefer a head injury over a knee injury is the type of person who has had one too many head injuries already….

    One injury involves a career setback and a year or more of rehab….

    … the other involves lasting brain damage with repercussions that extend far beyond a player’s NFL career.

    It’s a no-brainer.

  9. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 28, 2012 10:12 AM

    Don’t tell Goodell that ,he’s knows all. He’s the smartest guy in the room, just ask him…

  10. dexterismyhero says: Mar 28, 2012 10:16 AM

    @oxfordthecat says:Mar 28, 2012 10:06 AM
    … the other involves lasting brain damage with repercussions that extend far beyond a player’s NFL career.

    It’s a no-brainer.
    ==================
    Or maybe it is just a brainer?

  11. jiggybone says: Mar 28, 2012 10:18 AM

    I played football all the way up to the collegiate level. With saying that all injuries are the same at every level. I dont see how Ike Taylor would rather have a head injury then a knee injury. A head injury can hurt you way more now and later than a knee injury would.

  12. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 28, 2012 10:19 AM

    49erstim says: Mar 28, 2012 10:04 AM

    Lower your target area. Hit a guy in the midsection and WRAP UP! Problem solved. Stop trying to get on Sportscenter. I’m so sick of hearing the boo-whooing from defenders. This isn’t rocket science kids.
    ______________________

    To a certain degree, I agree.
    On the otherside. How exactly, is a defender supposed to stop the ball carrier from catching the football? QBs are going to start throwing for over 6 and 7 thousand yards on a yearly basis. Then people are going to complain because the QBs arms are sore.

  13. propertyofthebroncos says: Mar 28, 2012 10:20 AM

    he’s probably right, but this is football….there will always be injuries you can’t prevent all injuries from happening and these guys get paid millions knowing that.

  14. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 28, 2012 10:21 AM

    Somebody needs to put a memo on Goodell’s desk saying:

    “Football = injuries”

    Plain and simple. You don’t like getting hurt. Get a degree and get a real job.

  15. wiley16350 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:21 AM

    How about hitting them in the mid section (where you’re supposed to). Oh, I guess they can’t do that because it hurts the hitter more to hit like that. Maybe instead of trying to blow players up you could actually be good enough to get in position to make a play on the ball instead of having to dislodge the ball from the receiver. When I see highlights of Ed Reed, it’s usually him taking the ball the other way. When you see highlights of Ryan Clark/ Brandon Merriweather types you see highlights of them blowing receivers up. Ed Reed will probably be in the hall of fame. The other two will never get there. Because truly talented players don’t have to rely on big hits to get incompletions. They get themselves in position to make plays on the ball. If they do want to lay someone else out, they’re not afraid to make contact with the midsection.

  16. grogansheroes says: Mar 28, 2012 10:24 AM

    Well, if the NFL really cared about head injuries, and not the lawsuits that will be filed, they would use the best helmet available. But, because it is not made by an official Nfl sponsor, they do not. It is scandalous that these players do not have the best protection available to them.

  17. originalsteelcurtain says: Mar 28, 2012 10:26 AM

    Please don’t let “The Rodge” see this…

    …I really don’t want to be watching flag football in my lifetime.

  18. homelanddefense says: Mar 28, 2012 10:28 AM

    Im guessing Dave Duerson disagrees with you Ike

  19. originalsteelcurtain says: Mar 28, 2012 10:29 AM

    This will just give Czar Goodell another reason to change the game for someone else’s interest other than the life-long NFL fan.

  20. jade amor says: Mar 28, 2012 10:30 AM

    We are talking about professional athletes making a tackle. How can this be such a difficult situation. For all the bone heads out there that havent figured it out, if you aim for the hips of the ball carrier tackling is easy. If you aim for the center of his body (top to bottom) and he jumps and gets his knee blown up, it is his own fault for leaving his feet. If the ball carrier ducks and gets knocked out, it is his own fault for ducking. The defensive players can only do so much, I agree with that, but for these babies to act like the rules are too difficult to understand, it is ridiculous. Aim above the knees, and below the chest (ie: the hips/waist) of the ball carrier and you are completely in the clear, this isnt difficult to figure out

  21. hutch119 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:38 AM

    So if you can’t go for one extreme ( head shot ) you go for the other? Why can’t these guys tackle properly?

  22. preventoffense says: Mar 28, 2012 10:41 AM

    We are rapidly approaching a version of flag football, and not from the zebras.

  23. simplesimon1 says: Mar 28, 2012 10:45 AM

    He’s 100% correct. Of coarse a head injury is way more serious than a knee injury but the point I’m sure he’s trying to make is that if a player gets his head rung, he can still get over it and play usually. If a knee is blown out it very likely can mean the end of a career.

  24. cleverbob says: Mar 28, 2012 11:00 AM

    Apparently football players’ heads are directly connected to their knees, with nothing in between…

  25. cnmiddel says: Mar 28, 2012 11:01 AM

    Haha Im sure nfl players dont need your advice on how to tackle there kiddo

  26. dayumyou says: Mar 28, 2012 11:03 AM

    jade amor says:
    Mar 28, 2012 10:30 AM
    We are talking about professional athletes making a tackle. How can this be such a difficult situation. For all the bone heads out there that havent figured it out, if you aim for the hips of the ball carrier tackling is easy. If you aim for the center of his body (top to bottom) and he jumps and gets his knee blown up, it is his own fault for leaving his feet. If the ball carrier ducks and gets knocked out, it is his own fault for ducking. The defensive players can only do so much, I agree with that, but for these babies to act like the rules are too difficult to understand, it is ridiculous. Aim above the knees, and below the chest (ie: the hips/waist) of the ball carrier and you are completely in the clear, this isnt difficult to figure out
    ________________________

    which team do u play for again????

  27. SaintsSBCHAMPS2012 says: Mar 28, 2012 11:11 AM

    Flag Football by 2020
    Thanks Roger

  28. clintonportisheadd says: Mar 28, 2012 11:29 AM

    The good news about players more likely being injured via a shot to the knee as opposed to the head is that when they are in their mid 50′s they can at least remember how they got those scars on their knees.

  29. steelers4385 says: Mar 28, 2012 11:36 AM

    Ya you guys are right. Just form tackle. Its obviouslly the easiest way to tackle someone like MJD who will get lower than the defender every single time. I mean we all know the lower man never wins. Sometimes guys get hit in the head. Its football. Obviouslly some guys take it to another level which is stupid but sometimes sh!t happens. Its a rough sport not meant for the weak.

  30. hehateu says: Mar 28, 2012 11:58 AM

    Its gotta be about more than making the tackle, you’ve got to be able to make the reciever uncomfortable or they will abuse the middle of the field all day long. watch how d-linemen lose focus when o-linemen try to cut block them-same principle. The knees appear to be the only way to disrupt recievers. Its just to risky to hit above the waist-its not just headshots that get flagged , any hit that causes the receivers head to snap forward whether its a gut or a chest shot also draws flags

  31. easyeintennessee says: Mar 28, 2012 12:12 PM

    Do the Steelers ever quit whining? If its not this guy, its James Harrison. If its not Harrison, then its Ryan Clark… For a bunch of grown men, they sure do act like a bunch of spoiled high school girls.

  32. pdma7 says: Mar 28, 2012 12:33 PM

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but wouldn’t a return to leather helmets prevent head AND knee injuries. What’s the deal with rugby players and concussions?

  33. 84sgl says: Mar 28, 2012 12:36 PM

    Gosh so many of you guys are so dumb when it comes to football. Players are not built with internal slow motion visual mode. How are players supposed to make the adjustment to hit a MOVING object perfectly every time? Sometimes, guys are going to slip up on accident – just think about how tough it would be to adjust to tackle a shifty Ray Rice… The problem is that the “rule-makers” watch network coverage instead of studying real-time instincts of players. Players will ALWAYS have a potential for injury in this sport.

  34. 49ersgiants4life says: Mar 28, 2012 12:50 PM

    Well the guys on the offense get paid millions too for making plays I doubt most of you know what it’s like to tackle an NFL running back or receiver you all act like the offensive players are standing still or something.

  35. fatcatt says: Mar 28, 2012 1:10 PM

    If he ever has a serious head injury he will reconsider that ignorant statement. Players need to police themselves. The teams offense needs to say to the defense to not go after the other teams knees or the other team will go after ours.

  36. bearsstillsuck says: Mar 28, 2012 1:26 PM

    Until twenty years from now when he’s suing the nfl because he can’t stop drooling.

  37. quittsburghstoolers says: Mar 28, 2012 3:05 PM

    Steelers defensive back Ike Taylor says he and his teammates have gotten the message from Roger Goodell: Don’t aim for the head.

    “Guys getting fined heavily, ESPECIALLY ON OUR TEAM…”

    ———————————————————-

    The answer to this whole thing is quite simple. Tell your
    team to quit being a bunch of headhunting, cheap shot
    artists & all those fines will disappear like magic…

  38. fordmandalay says: Mar 28, 2012 3:25 PM

    Ike plans to protect himself by letting more second level receivers blow right past him untouched ala the Hall of Fame combo of Tebow to DeMarius Thomas.

  39. eggersthejerk says: Mar 28, 2012 3:26 PM

    And Taylor is surely speaking for many of his colleagues when he says he’d rather have a head injury than a knee injury.

    ………………………………………………………………………

    Too bad somebody can’t ask a guy like Mike Webster which injury he’d rather have.

    Somehow I think he would tell you that head injuries are a helluva lot worse in the long run.

  40. stlraven says: Mar 28, 2012 7:13 PM

    Ok im going to start with saying yes i understand why people are making the argument head injuries are worse. But i agree with taylor on this one, look at dominque foxworth formerly of my ravens he tore his ACL and now may have to retire he certainly wasnt the same player since… I think the players understand concussions are worse in the long run however would rather have them because usually knee injuries are more career threatening.

  41. stlraven says: Mar 28, 2012 7:15 PM

    And The players have to get their money while they can…..

  42. steel2372 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:34 PM

    I think for most people we probably dont realize how fast and quick these players are going on every down. Its not like a sandlot game. Everyone is faster, bigger, stronger. Football is a full contact sport.

  43. slammer69 says: Mar 28, 2012 8:40 PM

    Hang on Football Fans, touch football is just around the corner.

  44. pizzon says: Mar 30, 2012 1:14 PM

    its easy for people to monday morning quarterback and to critique tackling techniques, try doing it at game speed when you are the person making the tackle. its an imperfect science something that happens in a split second and yet Goodell is trying to make it a perfect gm which it never will be. in short the NFL knows this and will continue to keep taking money from its players. personally I think it comes down to one picking your poison. knees getting blown out or getting your bell rung. either way later on in ones life you will see lingering effects from these injuries. short of making all contact illegaland making the NFL the FFL(flag football league) injuries are going to continue to happen.

  45. sportsfan240 says: Mar 30, 2012 1:20 PM

    How to tackle is a no brainer for everyone commenting here, yet you guys aren’t the ones who have played football for your whole lives. Believe it or not, the players are much faster and quicker in the NFL than the players you played against in pee-wee. It’s much tougher to make perfect tackles when the guys are going 100 MPH

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