Steelers safety Ryan Clark has heard the talk that the NFL needs to protect offensive players from low hits, and he’s getting fed up.
The NFL Competition Committee will review the legal low hit that ended Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller’s season, and Clark is concerned that the next step will be to make it even harder for defensive players to do their jobs.
“I’m so disgusted with the NFL right now about those situations,” Clark said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If an offensive player makes enough of a stink, they’ll change it. I know Tony Gonzalez was extremely upset about the hit on Dustin Keller.”
Clark said that he gave up a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz last year in part because he couldn’t take the angle toward Cruz that he wanted to take.
“I remember a hit I had on Victor Cruz last year, which was clearly legal, but it gave up seven points,” Clark said. “I hurt my team by doing something I deemed legal and something the NFL also deemed legal by not fining me. So you go to the other extreme. The guys know there is no way possible [to] get fined if [they] go low. It will be one or the other. Guys will hit up high and maybe risk getting a concussion or hurting a shoulder. When you get hit low, the season is going to be over. If they decide to change this rule, they might as well put flags on.”
It’s obviously an extreme overstatement to say that today’s NFL is anything like flag football. But that’s direction that many defensive players see the NFL heading.