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Kellen Winslow Jr. wants NFL to protect against low hits too

Kellen Winslow AP

Add New York Jets tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. to the list of players who disapprove of the hit from Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger that shredded the knee of Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller.

Winslow, like Dolphins’ receiver Brian Hartline, isn’t buying Swearinger’s reasoning for hitting Keller so low in the first place.  Swearinger claims he went low while attempting to tackle Keller because of the league’s focus on eliminating blows to the head forced him to alter his angle of attack.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Winslow believes that defenseless players should also be protected from exceptionally low hits as well as blows to head.

“It’s just the way he was hit . . . he’s defenseless,” Winslow said. “I’ve been thinking about that [type of] hit for years. The guy’s defenseless . . . and the [defender] is knifing in at his knees.  That’s not cool.  That hit should be illegal. . . . You shouldn’t be knifing in at a guy’s knees when they’re not able to protect themselves.”

While Swearinger may have went lower than necessary when trying to tackle Keller, the concern from defenders about where exactly they’re able to contact offensive players is real.  If defenders are being told by the league that they have to be the ones to adjust to avoid helmet-to-helmet blows, those players are inherently going to lower their strike point against offensive players.

The injury to Keller was a brutal blow that no player wants to see. There is validity to the thought from Winslow that players diving at the knees of defenseless players is an issue the league should also take a look at in the name of player safety.  However, at some point defenders have to be able to make their attempts to stop offensive players as well.  It’s a tough balancing act the league may have to look at more closely.

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63 Responses to “Kellen Winslow Jr. wants NFL to protect against low hits too”
  1. sdakota says: Aug 21, 2013 12:37 AM

    just shut up and retire you piece of crap. you came in with a lot of talent but not 1/10 the heart your dad had, what a waste. find a flaf football league, maybe you could handle that

  2. ufostomper says: Aug 21, 2013 12:39 AM

    That’s bull at some point you gotta say enough is enough, if you don’t wanna get hit play flag football!!!!

  3. bobzilla1001 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:44 AM

    All this hitting has got to stop. A defender should allow a defenseless receiver to catch the ball, turn up field and score. That way, the offense that has the ball last, wins. The real strategy of “football” will be to figure out a way to possess the ball last. Problem solved.

  4. steviaquinn says: Aug 21, 2013 12:45 AM

    And you cant hit them in the middle or a player can almost die – ( DJ Hayden, Drew Bredsoe)……Lets make it two hand touch, no more lawsuits

  5. kuranda84 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:46 AM

    It sucks, but nobody is making these guys play this game. To most players the risk is worth the reward.

  6. otrd13 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:46 AM

    For anyone that watches rugby, this is already taken care of by the sport. No tackling shoulders or above, no tackling knees or below.

    You can penalize/fine first time it happens in a game then eject. Refs need to be professional enough to use their judgement when incidental violent contact is to blame. Unfortunately, I happen to think the NFL refs are garbage and couldn’t handle the simple responsibility of proper judgement.

  7. jbpanthers says: Aug 21, 2013 12:48 AM

    …But I thought he was a soldier?

  8. godofwine330 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:48 AM

    the real reason are the fines. the fines are almost always on the defensive players. a receiver can duck, twist or turn and what was lined up to be a good clean legal hit is now a $25,000 fine the players don’t want to pay.

    the NFL is gone way out of hand with these fines. a $25,000 fine for rookie or second Year Player could be an eighth of his pay. by the mind of a Goodell, higher fines would Get people to not commit the act, but young players would rather not even take the chance at getting a penalty they couldn’t afford. the Commissioner want players to do the equivalent of making a hairpin turn going 20 miles an hour and never missed a spot, ever. it is simply not realistic

  9. omikeyboy says: Aug 21, 2013 12:51 AM

    This is what happens when you mess with perfection. Football is a man’s game. Every single player knows, or knew the risks of playing. Goodell is afraid of lawsuits. Seems to me a player should need to waive his right to sue the league, and the league should guarantee the players medical insurance for life. Quit screwing with the game.

  10. bach2112 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:51 AM

    So yall asking for a srike zone?

  11. bullethead527 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:53 AM

    I think they should too, above the knees and below the shoulders. But if the ball carrier lowers his head, all is fair game.

  12. omikeyboy says: Aug 21, 2013 12:55 AM

    It’s no different then a police officer knowing he could be killed in the line of duty, or a fireman knowing he could die in a fire. They choose to do it for their own personal reasons, and knowingly accept the risks. These players are very well paid for the risks they take. If they are concerned about their health later in life then choose a different path.

    End of rant. :)

  13. bmoreravens1012013 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:56 AM

    For once , Kellen Winslow Jr is absolutely correct. I said it was a ridiculous excuse when dude first said it, especially given how unsympathetic he was (despite shamelessly attempting to give dude a hand shake) after the hit. Where’s ol Rog when you need him . Oh, he’s too busy counting his 30 million from 2012. But don’t worry , once one of his favorite owners’ star player goes down from the same or lesser hit, the rule will be implemented. Isn’t the “Emporer” great?

  14. yournuts says: Aug 21, 2013 12:57 AM

    I think that Kellen really wants the NFL to become flag football. It will protect against all hits. Right Kellen?

  15. aaroncurryisbust says: Aug 21, 2013 12:58 AM

    Maybe the offensive players should bear some responsibility in providing a clean tackle zone then.

  16. rushbacker says: Aug 21, 2013 1:00 AM

    What are defensive players supposed to do, freakin’ HUG the guy to the ground? No one likes to see injuries, but you can’t play a contact sport with no contact.

  17. hyzers says: Aug 21, 2013 1:00 AM

    Of course he’s bringing this up now after that Lions DB made him do 5 foot a somersault in week 1 of the preseason. Winslow got up like it didn’t bother him one bit. I think he may have even slapped hands with the defender.

  18. bigdubba says: Aug 21, 2013 1:01 AM

    “While Swearinger may have went lower” … went, not gone? Really?

  19. bpark1000 says: Aug 21, 2013 1:02 AM

    Maybe the NFL should become rugby and tackle instead of hit lol. Just Kidding…I think.

  20. aklolzer says: Aug 21, 2013 1:07 AM

    I wonder what Aaron Hernandez thinks of knee shots.

  21. hudman10 says: Aug 21, 2013 1:13 AM

    I will admit…i’m a Dolphin fan, but i have a problem with that hit to Keller!! Everyone from pee-wee to the pros is taught to put your helmet on the ball and tackle the mid-section of a guy.

    I even aimed at guys knees as a player but it was my shoulder pads that was going to hit them.

    I’ve never seen a spear like that and…..isn’t spearing a penalty???

    He (the Texan player) never even saw the play, his head was down!!!!

    The other thing every player is taught from pee-wee ball…see what your hitting…..

    i guess i’m old school, but if that hit wasn’t malicious that player has never been taught any form of technique.

  22. jagwires says: Aug 21, 2013 1:18 AM

    Kellen should be worried about protecting his knees from himself.

    Sidebar- I was named after the real Kellen. The hall of gamer that is. Not the solja.

  23. dylanssongwriter says: Aug 21, 2013 1:18 AM

    Stop trying to act like this is rocket science for these defensive players. This wasn’t some bang bang play…this was a TACKLE a high school kid could have made. Swearinger screwed up

  24. jimthebuilder27 says: Aug 21, 2013 1:32 AM

    Duh!! This is football, let’s play!! Gee why did nobody see this coming? When you’re told you can’t hit high you have to hit low. When you change the target area there will be more injuries to other areas of the body! Its the risk that you take in the new NFL, unless you want to play flag football!

  25. vertskate900 says: Aug 21, 2013 1:44 AM

    Here’s an idea to protect yourself: Quit the NFL and find a job that calls upon your college degree skills.

  26. calicokiller49 says: Aug 21, 2013 1:46 AM

    Simple, aim for the stomach. These Guys are out to hurt each other, regardless of what they say, if they can’t knock a guy out cold, they’re gonna take out his knee. You take out a teams QB, or rb or best receiver, that skyrockets our chances of winning a ball game. I watch a lot of football, and it’s pretty obvious these guys wanna hurt each other. Week 2 Sunday night , you can guarantee cheat Carroll will have his henchmen trying to take out Vernon Davis , frank gore, or kap, count on it.

  27. klecko says: Aug 21, 2013 2:26 AM

    Yeah, the league is gonna have to take a better look at a decision they made about not wanting to pay for head injuries. I guess they decided that limbs, or knees are cheaper. It wasn’t a nice hit by the defender, but he’s got a point about the 15 yard personal foul penalty.

  28. andyb02 says: Aug 21, 2013 2:48 AM

    Shut up Kellen Winslow! Anymore restrictions on hitting and the NFL will become a complete joke.

  29. offthelows says: Aug 21, 2013 3:04 AM

    if defenders start taking out high paid skill position players with hits like the Swearinger hit, then owners will start rethinking the cost benefit analysis and allow officials to have discretion on incidental helmet to helmet contact.

  30. fluffy9mm says: Aug 21, 2013 3:46 AM

    What about defenseless middle hits? Tackleing when he’s not looking. Not giving proper notification before tackling. Lmao. Just don’t let them tackle each other at all. People like Winslow are just looking for a podium to get people to listen to them. On a serious note, if you take away the helmets that will stop the spearing. Just saying.

  31. catquick says: Aug 21, 2013 4:02 AM

    If the courts would just throw out that ridiculous concussion lawsuit, this would all end.

  32. fumblenuts says: Aug 21, 2013 4:03 AM

    Can’t hit high and can’t hit low…….hmmmm. Put on a skirt soldier, and best of luck!

  33. godolphins133499 says: Aug 21, 2013 4:05 AM

    Idk but kellen you already know what you have to do to make db drop all those eventual sancheese picks…

  34. forever9ers says: Aug 21, 2013 4:26 AM

    Stay away from motorcycle first, then wear knee-braces.

  35. tigerphins says: Aug 21, 2013 6:07 AM

    This isn’t as much about going low as it is about reckless play and needlessly increasing the risk of injury in the process. There unfortunately isn’t enough respect for both the game and the opponent from today’s players, which was put on high display by Swearinger who could’ve just as well stopped Keller w/o needing to drop his eyes and haphazardly target the knee area. That was an avoidable injury. Period. And that’s the point. Not to mention he couldn’t even get his damn name correct in his Tweet and had the gall to blame the NFL for his recklessness.

    I don’t understand this false sense of entitlement that today’s defenders seem to have regarding “tackling”. It’s the ball carrier who has the entitlement here, the entitlement and privilege to run you over if you’re unable to execute a proper tackle or at least wrap up and wait for the cavalry to arrive. It’s the ball carrier’s right to win his matchup against a defender if that defender can’t get him down cleanly.

    What’s next, defensive backs complaining about the need to interfere with Calvin Johnson throughout his route b/c he’s too difficult to cover otherwise?… right tackles whining about the necessity to hold JJ Watt so they don’t give up another sack? If you have no desire to either attempt a proper textbook tackle or at least wrap up feet or ankles and wait for help, then find another job, football isn’t for you.

  36. christophershearin says: Aug 21, 2013 6:09 AM

    How about the NFL quit with the rules that are destroying the game. Roll back the hits to the head rules and make the players sign a waiver or they can’t play.

  37. fdugrad says: Aug 21, 2013 6:14 AM

    While Swearinger may have WENT lower?!

  38. sidepull says: Aug 21, 2013 6:41 AM

    Cant hit high
    Cant hit low
    Maybe they will start making jerseys and such with big targets on the area that is permissible.
    Is this really football anymore?

  39. titansbro says: Aug 21, 2013 6:44 AM

    New rule: The only legal tackle is to politely ask the ball carrier if he would mind being tackles. Then, & only then, may the defender “tackle” the ball carrier buy lightly pulling on his arm until he goes to the ground.

    Boom, player safety.

  40. natiep2000 says: Aug 21, 2013 7:06 AM

    I don’t disagree. When tackle football become about players just throwing their bodies around. What happened to wrapping and tackling with your head to side of the body and not using your body like a missle?

  41. nickster31 says: Aug 21, 2013 7:21 AM

    Soon, defenders will have an area to hit smaller than the strike zone. Scores will reach 100 points per game and there wont be a defensive player without at least 3 fines per year.

    I will never understand why they dont make players sign a waiver when they apply for the draft stating they understand the risks and accept that any injury is part of the game?

  42. jr507 says: Aug 21, 2013 7:37 AM

    “the competition committee will now hear proposal 145: the two-hand touch rule”

  43. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Aug 21, 2013 7:48 AM

    Sure, lets just put the flags on and call it a day boys.

  44. hansenbrothers says: Aug 21, 2013 7:50 AM

    Flag football anyone?

  45. nomorepccrap says: Aug 21, 2013 7:57 AM

    Maybe we should put flags on you pansies!

    I know he’s probably upset about not being able to play this year but many more people have been upset with him actually on the field.

  46. adamd1981 says: Aug 21, 2013 7:57 AM

    I am not condoning what Swearinger did but when these smaller DBs come up to takle larger WRs and RBs isn’t that best area to key on below the waist opposed to up high ? Not to mention if they are aiming at there chest and the WR or RB ducks down at the last second then you are subject to a helmet to helmet penalty.

  47. standintexas says: Aug 21, 2013 8:00 AM

    The answer is really simple. Limit ALL players to the same weight class. i.e. don’t expect a defensive back to take on a tight end in the open field who is out weighed by 40 to 50 pounds and then expect to take away the db’s advantage of attack. If you don’t like that idea, then what’s left besides flag footbalL? OH AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, LET’S REDUCE THESE GUYS SALARY TO BE IN LINE WITH THE NEW RISKS.

  48. exboomer says: Aug 21, 2013 8:01 AM

    So basically Winslow doesn’t want to be tackled anywhere on his body. What a whiny crybaby.

  49. wallio says: Aug 21, 2013 8:03 AM

    But I thought Winslow was a “soldier”?

  50. nananatman says: Aug 21, 2013 8:10 AM

    If an offensive player drops his head should he not share in the blame?

  51. realskipbayless says: Aug 21, 2013 8:12 AM

    If they protect against low and high hits it doesn’t leave much room to hit. This is gonna result in a lot of penalties

  52. jpaq68 says: Aug 21, 2013 8:22 AM

    Maybe he can ask them to protect against not knowing how to ride a motorcycle, too.

  53. greymares says: Aug 21, 2013 8:46 AM

    O.K. then, touch football it is.

  54. knowerofallthings says: Aug 21, 2013 8:56 AM

    Strike zone is about to change; chest to thighs only. Everything else is a penalty. just wait it will happen

  55. walkinginthewasteland says: Aug 21, 2013 8:59 AM

    Dear Mr. Winslow:

    We have discussed your suggestion. Unfortunately at this point in time, low hits from motorcycles do not come under the purview of the NFL. Thank you for your time.

  56. dylude says: Aug 21, 2013 9:32 AM

    Offensive players lower their heads to their waists sometimes.

    That means the “strike zone” is from thigh to waist?

    That’s impossible at that speed. Shut up Keller.

  57. jerseygirl57 says: Aug 21, 2013 9:32 AM

    Maybe the NFL just needs to put a target on the offensive players where the defense is allowed to touch them. Jeesh!

  58. bullwnkl985 says: Aug 21, 2013 9:40 AM

    Great… so you can’t hit em high, you can’t hit em low. Just put the damn flags on their waists and call it what it’s really becoming!!

  59. sadskinsfan89 says: Aug 21, 2013 9:49 AM

    soon football in itself is gonna be banned.

  60. theboondoggles says: Aug 21, 2013 10:44 AM

    They gunnin for my legs!

  61. bigjdve says: Aug 21, 2013 11:33 AM

    For years the defenders have been complaining about low blocks that could hurt their legs.

    How come now after they have been starting to be protected, the same act from the defense on the offense is being dubbed okay?

  62. koenig61 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:45 PM

    It seems Offensive players are ok with knee shots so long as they are the ones dishing them out. For instance when a RB is blocking an oncoming defender, and instead of getting his hands out in front, tries to go low and roll block the defender. Or an O’lineman hits a defensive lineman below the knees during zone blocking schemes. I know knee shots can end a season, but if the NFL is doing everything possible to stop head injuries, then knee injuries will rise, as defenders go lower. People keep saying attack the midsection, which I think is ‘ideal’ however at the speed of the game, and with offensive players ducking or moving, you may aim for the midsection, but you may still end up with H2H or knee hits. Its just something Offesnive players are going to have to live with, because the NFL isnt going to ease up on head shots.

  63. sgtmoon24 says: Aug 21, 2013 3:47 PM

    If you can’t hit high and you can’t hit low……. The only place left is in the groin.

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