NFL rules have long held that it is legal to grab a player by his hair in an effort to tackle him and we’ve seen it happen a few times over the years.
We’ve never seen it result in the haircut that Cardinals running back Andre Ellington got on Sunday. Ellington was bottled up by several Jaguars defenders on a third quarter run and one of the defenders, defensive end Jason Babin, came up with a souvenir on the play. As captured by the FOX cameras at the game, Babin emerged from the scrum with a handful of Ellington’s dreadlocks in his right hand.
“I didn’t even realize it, but they were stuck to my glove,” Babin said, via the Florida Times-Union. “I was walking back to the huddle and said ‘What is this?’ Sometimes that stuff happens.”
Ellington said after the game that he thought it was a “little dirty play” by Babin, who he thought tried to intentionally tear out the hair, but that it didn’t cause him any pain. The Cardinals had someone collect the lost dreads, bag them up and return them to Ellington after the game, which makes for one of the more unusual mementos for a trophy case that you’ll come across in the NFL.