Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson has joined the chorus of players, coaches and fans who oppose the NFL Competition Committee’s proposal to penalize runners for lowering their heads into tacklers.
“I think it’s a bad rule,” Dickerson told Mike Freeman of CBS. “Mostly because it’s a natural reaction. You’ll never be able to police it. Running backs have to be able to protect themselves and doing that is protecting yourself.”
Dickerson said the league’s owners need to understand the physical nature of the game.
“The league is trying to take the violence out of the NFL,” Dickerson said. “That will never happen. What’s next, take the stiff arm away?”
It’s worth noting, however, that this proposal is at least in part a response to the concussion litigation that the NFL is facing from former players. And Dickerson is one of those former players suing the NFL. One of the frustrations that the league office and the team owners have had is that the same players who rip them when they try to take helmet-to-helmet contact out of the game are the players who turn around and sue the league for failing to take brain injuries out of the game.
That puts the owners in a tough spot. And that’s why it still looks likely that the owners will vote today to approve a rule that they know will be met with complaints from the very players they’re trying to protect.