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Injured on a kickoff, Eric LeGrand says the play shouldn’t change

Eric LeGrand AP

Buccaneers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand has had a big week.  Making a stirring appearance at the ESPYs on Wednesday and landing a deal with Subway, he also has performed the guest-writing duties for Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback.

And LeGrand, who suffered a broken neck in 2010 during a kick return while playing college football at Rutgers, thinks that the NFL shouldn’t change the kickoff play in order to reduce injuries.

“Take it from someone who has gotten injured on a kickoff,” LeGrand writes.  “I think kickoffs in the NFL should return to the way they used to be, because lots of football players can make a career out of playing on special teams, and the new system takes some of the thrill and excitement of the game out.”

The league moved the kickoff point from the 30 to the 35 in 2011, greatly increasing the number of touchbacks and in turn greatly reducing the number of kickoff returns and in turn greatly reducing the number of opportunities for large, strong, fast men to collide after running at each other in the opposite direction.

Giants owner John Mara has suggested that the kickoff play could be removed completely.  Last week, however, Mara said he doesn’t know whether that will happen.
If football players are willing to accept the risks of playing football and the kickoff is part of football, players are willing to accept those risks, too.  And if a man who has suffered a life-changing injury during a kick return believes the play should stay in the game, his words should carry a lot of weight.
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9 Responses to “Injured on a kickoff, Eric LeGrand says the play shouldn’t change”
  1. cletusvandam says: Jul 16, 2012 8:06 AM

    If football players are willing to accept the risks of playing football and the kickoff is part of football, players are willing to accept those risks, too.
    ————-
    Except that the 3,000 or so players suing the league over concussions says players are NOT willing to accept the risks of playing.

  2. crippled4life says: Jul 16, 2012 8:11 AM

    As a quadriplegic myself, who was injured in a car crash, I accepted the responsibility that I could get injured in a car. Players in the NFL should accept the same risk. Eric is finally a voice of reason when it comes to changing the rules in the NFL.

  3. bigjdve says: Jul 16, 2012 8:17 AM

    I think someone really needs to put a muzzle on Mara.

    Good for LeGrand for stating what he believes.

  4. idoesthis25 says: Jul 16, 2012 8:34 AM

    A life without risk is a life not lived in my opinion.

    The game is a beautiful game and its unfortunate that money hungry people are sucking the blood out of the sport(literally and figuratively)

    I can somewhat feel for past players who played many years ago..but current players get paid more than enough..i dont know too much about the health.benefits and pension they get but obviously to.them its not enough

    Making the game safer is one thing. But making drastic rule changes are completely unnecessary. Fundamental play needs to be reinforced. These guys have the privilege of playing a sport for a living. If they dont like it hop on a desk.

  5. raideryan88 says: Jul 16, 2012 8:47 AM

    Coming out of college and signing your rookie contract means you understand the risks. These guys make millions to play a game. Moviing the kickoff forward is the start of the new era of goodell flag football. Now these guys are going to play a game and make millions with very little risk.

  6. connie73 says: Jul 16, 2012 8:53 AM

    Enjoyed reading his column in SI today. Hope to read more from him.
    The last words he wrote were “I will walk again”
    and he will because he believes
    Good luck Eric

  7. bucforever says: Jul 16, 2012 8:59 AM

    Except that the 3,000 or so players suing the league over concussions says players are NOT willing to accept the risks of playing.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    The law suits are not about accepting the risks of injury. They are about the NFL covering up and avoiding the fact that concussions have long term
    life changing damage to veteran and active players alike.
    And everybody loves to see the kick off returns that go all the way!

  8. broncobeta says: Jul 16, 2012 12:01 PM

    It’s amazing how many people defend a part of the game that for the most of the time has no affect on the game.

    It’s also disgusting to here the “You know what you signed up for! Stop being a wuss and take of your skirt!” comments. Seeing how 90% of the visitors of the website have never returned a kickoff in the NFL.

  9. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins says: Jul 16, 2012 2:06 PM

    It’s nice to see that even though he was an unfortunate victim, he is still able to remain objective about it. Rare to see someone not make excuses about a tragedy that wasn’t even their fault in a world where so many people point the blame elsewhere for things that WERE their fault. What an awesome example and an awesome human being.

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