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Dustin Keller says NFL must do something about low hits

Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans Getty Images

Rob Gronkowski isn’t the only NFL tight end to have his knee blown out by a low hit this year. And one of the other victims of a low hit wants the NFL to do something about it.

Dustin Keller, the Miami tight end whose season ended before it began when he took a low hit in the preseason, took to Twitter today to express his concern for Gronkowski and to say it’s time for the NFL to do something about players getting hit in the knees.

The player who hit Keller and caused him to miss the entire season was Texans rookie safety D.J. Swearinger, who said at the time that it had been impressed upon him not to hit high, even though he personally would rather take a hit to the head than to the knee.

“I was making a hit playing football,” Swearinger said after the hit on Keller. “In this league you’ve got to go low. If you go high you’re going to get a fine. . . .The rules say you can’t hit high so I went low and I’m sorry that happened. I would think you’d rather have more concussions than leg injuries. Leg injury, you can’t come back from that. A concussion, you be back in a couple in a couple of weeks.”

The NFL, however, wants players to stop thinking of concussions as injuries that are easy to brush off. And if the NFL’s player safety rules mean players are lowering their targets, that’s exactly what the NFL wants.

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81 Responses to “Dustin Keller says NFL must do something about low hits”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 9, 2013 7:30 PM

    Say it on the radio, the NFL specializes in listening, not reading.

  2. ufanforreal says: Dec 9, 2013 7:31 PM

    They need to do something about the ref’s also, it’s bad very bad.

  3. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? says: Dec 9, 2013 7:32 PM

    They have, they tell you to do it now instead of hit high.

  4. monkeesfan says: Dec 9, 2013 7:33 PM

    The league’s approach here is bass-ackwards. For all the League Of Denial bluster, the fact is concussions never were the epidemic the demagogues want to pretend they are; there never was any need for new rules to prevent head hits.

    Yes the league needs to be concerned about blows to the head, but it can do so without new rules. What they’ve done is exactly what Brandon Meriweather complained about – it’s left defenders no choice but to attack low, and the league hasn’t solved anything.

    The league needs to start taking away these new rules and instead let players play, because when it lets players play there isn’t any decrease in safety – to the contrary, trusting in the toughness of the players has always been the best response to safety issues.

  5. amoses74 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:33 PM

    The Players did this to themselves……. if there wasnt a lawsuit filed with thousands of players signing up for the big payout maybe these rules and fines wouldnt exist. If you bring the NFL to court to pay billions of dollars to settle then they are gonna do what they can to end concussions!

  6. kd75 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:34 PM

    No high hits. No low hits.

    So you can only tackle from the waist to the armpits? That’s your plan Dustin?

    Just accept the inherent risks associated with your chosen profession or sit at a desk all day like I do. For less than 10% of your current salary.

    The World can always use another bartender after all…

  7. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 9, 2013 7:35 PM

    Honestly what’s a defender supposed to do? Someone like Gronk is not fun to try and bring down I imagine. Not only that, but players get fined for regular penalties now and their careers on average are very short. Tony G. said he’d take a concussion over a blown out knee, and he’s not alone.

  8. jimthebuilder27 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:35 PM

    I understand your point Keller, but how did you and others not see this coming??

    You change the target area (no hits to the head) there’s going to be more injuries to other areas of the body (broken leg, blown out knees). And if you can’t hit high or low, you’ll have more injuries to the midsection (bruised or broken ribs, or worse).

    I’m going to love flag football ::eye roll:: Get on board guys, because its coming.

  9. steelhammer92 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:37 PM

    There really is no middle ground.. It’s a violent sport, and injuries are inevitable. That’s why the league will eventually turn into touch or flag football. Unless they implement weight limits for receivers like in pee wee football, it’s going to be impossible for safeties and corners to take on a tight end when the only legal target area is the mid section. If the mid section was the only legal strike zone, tight ends would become nearly unstoppable because they would know the hit is coming to the mid section every time and be able to anticipate it and brace themselves for it. How would you stop a tight end going over the middle for a pass if you can’t hit him high or low, and you are outweighed by 60+ pounds?

  10. tevya76 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:37 PM

    Can’t hit high. Can’t hit low. Welcome to flag football America.

  11. natelan69 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:40 PM

    One of the few things that the league has CORRECT… A broken leg is better than permanent brain damage.

  12. thebadguyswon says: Dec 9, 2013 7:42 PM

    Roger has created quite the mess.

  13. bjennings2013 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:43 PM

    Enough is enough. Bring football back. Everyone is well aware of the risks now when playing contact sports. Hell, make everyone sign a waiver saying they are well aware of the risk entering the NFL. Defensive linemen falling forward and making contact with QBs legs deserve a flag? Trying to block a pass and making contact with the QBs helmet draws a flag? Head to head (whenever a ref feels like it) draws a flag? The new safety rules are inconsistent and unmanageable. If you decide to play football for a living, the “I didn’t know the risks” excuse is dead. Bring back football and tell the refs to let them play!

  14. kwjsb says: Dec 9, 2013 7:44 PM

    NFFL
    National Flag Football League.

    I remember Terry Bradshaw when they came out with the “In The Grasp” rule …..

    “They might as well put dresses on them”

    I hate Bradshaw, but he was right, If you cannot take the hit work at Walmart.

  15. randomguy9999 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:46 PM

    The NFL needs to stop having a hair trigger about blows to the head…..

    Anyone who watches a game knows when an outrageous helmet to helmet hit happens… it’s obvious. There are judgement calls in the game, make this one of them…. Don’t wanna get flagged? Don’t brutalize people.

    Part of the problem is also that the players all wanna be lawyers and appeal fines all the time by calling into question the exact wording of a rule and the NFL entertains that process.

    Otherwise, over time, a lot of great players are going to have a limping year off occasionally, and some will suddenly have their careers end in their prime.

  16. joeflaccosunibrow says: Dec 9, 2013 7:47 PM

    Here comes 2-hand touch…

  17. craniator says: Dec 9, 2013 7:47 PM

    This is emblematic , in my opinion , of the bigger problem in the NFL nowadays: that defenses in general are getting killed by the officials on all sorts of plays. At least three games yesterday were decided specifically by critical penalties being assessed against defensive players. Why can’t the NFL be more like the NBA , and stop calling these borderline , tricky tack penalties in the final minutes when the game is hanging in the balance ? Just asking.

  18. rabbi187 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:51 PM

    This is your safer NFL Mr. Goodell. Congratulations. You’re single handedly trying to ruin the best sport and the careers of skill position players.

  19. hdahs143 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:51 PM

    There is a ton of space between the head and knees to tackle someone. If Gronkowski is too big to tackle, get bigger guys. All players have gotten bigger over the years.

    I know the league is trying to make the game safer, even at the risk of changing the game, but saying the rules made you put a helmet on another players knee is lame BS.

  20. Patskrieg dot com says: Dec 9, 2013 7:52 PM

    Classy move by Keller that of course results in more ignorant comments on PFT. There are how many places to hit a man, grab onto him, knock him down without giving him permanent brain damage or destroying his knees? Low hits shorten careers and have sidelined a lot of great players. And they’re avoidable.

  21. patsfan1820 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:55 PM

    Brandon Merriweather warned everybody about this. Honestly there needs to be some rules that help out defenders because the offenses are being given too much to work with. Officials are the bigger problem. The clear fumble that was whistled dead on the Browns opening drive that would have given the Patriots the lead, the PI called on the Browns at the end, the clear non fumble by Gerhart that gave the Ravens 7 points, the phantom PI they called on the Vikings that set up the Flacco pass, the Bengals non td, the phantom hold called on Suh, the 21 points given to the Broncos by the refs via holds and phantom unnecessary roughness calls, etc. That’s the real problem not hitting offensive players low. Get well soon Keller and Gronk!

  22. melikefootball says: Dec 9, 2013 7:56 PM

    The NFL has caused much of the injuries by making the rules all towards the defense, They get the fines and now they are hitting as asked not up high and offensive players are crying foul. talk to your boss that sits on top of the goal post in NY. The NFL has become full of themselves . and they are blinded was in going on Sundays.

  23. favresweiner says: Dec 9, 2013 7:57 PM

    The strike zone of above the knees and under the neck. You don’t have to “go for the knees” because of the new rule.

  24. steves11 says: Dec 9, 2013 7:57 PM

    Can’t hit high, can’t hit low….pretty soon players will be getting fined for any tackle that’s not around the waist.

  25. noburghfan says: Dec 9, 2013 8:00 PM

    Maybe the whole idea is to make it where even
    girls will be able to play ?? You know , PC ??

  26. thestrategyexpert says: Dec 9, 2013 8:02 PM

    Just have a computer simulate all the games. Every week it runs each game as a simulation 800 billion times and the team that wins the most gets the win for that week. That way the rightful team won’t get screwed from establishing the victory. And why only 800 billion times? Because any more than that would be ridiculous and unnecessary, we’ll have a good idea of who the better team probably is at that point. And nobody gets hurt.

    The stars can show up for the Live Results show in full uniform and NO STINKIN PADS! But you do have to wear your own team’s cap during the reveal.

  27. harrisonhits2 says: Dec 9, 2013 8:02 PM

    detectivejimmymcnulty says:
    Dec 9, 2013 7:35 PM
    Honestly what’s a defender supposed to do?
    _______________________

    How about not intentionally aim a kill shot by planting your helmet on the target’s knee when you’re coming 90 degrees from the side and moving at full speed ?

    He could have wrapped Gronks legs up and taken him down without trashing his knee.

    Its very disingenuous of the players to say they can only hit the knees now. And to claim they need not only to hit the knees but in a way that injures a player for a year is ridiculous.

  28. dirtydrew says: Dec 9, 2013 8:03 PM

    Can’t hit high…can’t hit low…let’s just put on flags.

  29. kd75 says: Dec 9, 2013 8:04 PM

    Here’s an idea. We don’t need players.

    Just have each game played by the head coaches on Madden and broadcast that on the Jumbotron…Nobody gets hurt.

  30. nyyjetsknicks says: Dec 9, 2013 8:04 PM

    NFL players during career: Hit me up high. Blowing out a knee ends my season and a concussion is usually a 1 – 2 week injury.

    NFL players post career: I’m having issue with my brain and will be suing the NFL because they didn’t do enough to protect me.

  31. jimbobobjr says: Dec 9, 2013 8:04 PM

    Goodell cares nothing about player safety. He only cares about not getting sued. Unfortunately, the only way to stop these low hits to the knees is for Keller, Gronk, and others who have knee injuries to file a class action suit against the league.

  32. gohomeweeden says: Dec 9, 2013 8:04 PM

    I don’t blame the league for the rule changes, I blame the former players that sued the league for concussion issues. If they had not done so then none of these absurd rules would exist. The league was boxed in once the players sued and they had no choice but to change the rules to avoid high hits, thus making low hits more common.

  33. deljzc says: Dec 9, 2013 8:06 PM

    Why does NFL have to be safe exactly?

    Just today I saw a huge commercial on NBC for the Winter Olympics promoting sports like downhill skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping and luge.

    I hate to break it to everyone but there are DEATHS in those sports. And a pretty high death rate compared to the numbers that play it (much higher per capita than football). This has nothing to do with almost EVERY major skier eventually has a major wreck that breaks bones, shreds knee ligaments and causes head fractures.

    Do you see liberal NBC complaining about the litigation issues and safety of those sports?

    Let’s just stop trying to make NFL safe. Screw it. Make them sign a waver and move on.

    People play sports that are dangerous. What a novel idea to let people make their own choices in life.

  34. worknman24hours says: Dec 9, 2013 8:06 PM

    The really smart defensive players are seeing the future and are already making brilliant, arms around the torso, body slinging stops.

    I’m seeing some really smart defensive backfield stops where defensive players wrap their arms around the guys waist and use their legs while twisting the receiver to the ground.

    You will not be able to throw your body at any players legs in any way soon so defensive players will practice with getting stronger arms and better gripping strength and simply pull the offensive player right to the ground.

    The way top flight defensive players will adapt will be impressive to watch.

    People will speak about the strength required to make such moves when it will be mostly the learned technique that gets the tackle done.

    Should be fun to watch.

  35. icdogg says: Dec 9, 2013 8:08 PM

    Hit ‘em low, hit ‘em high, and watch our Eagles fly.

  36. Kolo Jezdec says: Dec 9, 2013 8:09 PM

    kwjsb says:
    I remember Terry Bradshaw when they came out with the “In The Grasp” rule …..

    “They might as well put dresses on them”
    ———-

    Jack Lambert, not Bradshaw.

    Get some therapy for that hate on Bradshaw (or on anyone else who has done you grievous harm). Hate can eat you from the inside out…

  37. thegreatgabbert says: Dec 9, 2013 8:11 PM

    The first meeting of the Former NFL Players Long Term Loss Of Mobility And Excruciating Arthritic Joint Pain Sufferers was held recently. By wheelchair and walker the players arrived, slowly filing in with canes and bulky braces to support their synthetic replacement joints.

  38. ibreathefootball says: Dec 9, 2013 8:14 PM

    Hitting low means that you can’t tackle and you’re a sissy. To be a man, HIT THE MAN!

  39. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Dec 9, 2013 8:15 PM

    harrisonhits2

    You expect Ward to hit a moving target while both are at full speed with precise placement? That’ll never happen.

    About the flag football comments, the future of the league is 7-on-7 with narrower fields. Still, injuries are going to happen.

  40. matt14gg says: Dec 9, 2013 8:15 PM

    A certain multi-million lawsuit brought by ex-players against the NFL for head injuries (which was really nothing more than a money grab) insures that the NFL is quite comfortable with guys having ACL’s destroyed as opposed to gray matter.

    Sorry, but I don’t blame the NFL, this one is squarely on the NFLPA. More rules = more chaos, but since the NFLPA basically told the world that head trauma was the league’s fault, and thus the league’s problem to fix, the league had NO CHOICE but to dramatically change the rules to conform.

    This is the culture of people who think they can protect everyone from everything by just creating more rules. I always get a kick out of the arrogance of people who think they are all powerful and can just legislate away all the world’s problems. Every decision has consequences and in this case the players have to tackle SOMETHING, and since the players are big and hit hard, whatever they are hitting is going to get hurt.

    Honestly, I’ve always thought that adults have the right to decide how they want to play the game. Most players will tell you they would rather have a concussion than a torn ACL, but arrogant idiots decide that these adults can’t think for themselves so “we” will decide for them that when they get older they are better off walking funny (or not at all) as opposed to having trouble remembering where they live.

    Frankly, I’d rather live in a world where we allow people to think for themselves instead of having an all powerful body think for them, but let’s face it…those days are gone forever.

  41. Kolo Jezdec says: Dec 9, 2013 8:16 PM

    Get some therapy for that hate on Bradshaw (or on anyone else who has done you grievous harm). Hate can eat you from the inside out…

    meant to say “or on anyone else who has NOT done you grievous harm”

  42. mzew233 says: Dec 9, 2013 8:17 PM

    As a Patriots fan – I thought this was already addressed. Although now this will bring more hatred to NE for being ‘soft’ and ‘making new rules’ screw em (We are 10+ wins, going to the playoffs again – your not).

    But I thought this was addressed in 2008 when Brady went down. It was certainly bad for NFL ratings whether you hated NE or not, for him to go down with that team which was why they changed things
    Did the rule adjustments not address low knee area hits and just invented throwing flags after QB hits?

  43. bert1913 says: Dec 9, 2013 8:20 PM

    the nfl should goto flag football. the players would have to wear 8 flags each. the more flags the defender takes the harder the “hit”.
    espn could show the defender taking all 8 flags in slow motion.

  44. metintodd says: Dec 9, 2013 8:20 PM

    Dustin Keller for NFL Commissioner. Seriously, what happened to Gronk Sunday was an embarrassment. TJ Ward should be ashamed of himself. He’s pulled this crap before with these cheap shots. It’s an embarrassment to the league.

    There’s a whole area on the body between the knee and the head that can be hit that would not result in the devastating season-ending injury that Gronk suffered on that cheap shot. Too late for Gronk but NFL needs to change the rule today. You can’t have star players being lost for the season on cheap shots like this.

  45. stevenwilliams2013 says: Dec 9, 2013 8:24 PM

    How about two hand touch?

  46. thesconnienation says: Dec 9, 2013 8:29 PM

    Can’t hit high, can’t hit low. Are they going to use their own version of the strike zone?

  47. tictoccpthook says: Dec 9, 2013 8:56 PM

    Let’s make it simple, all uniforms must have a ‘bullseye’ painted on them. Any hit to the ‘bullseye’ is legal.

    Go Steelers (next year that is).

  48. luke8512 says: Dec 9, 2013 9:08 PM

    This is just an excuse used by some defensive players who refuse to change their ways and learn to tackle. Ward always has gone for the blow up hit and knowing that if he’d try that on a player bigger the him he’d bounce off like a flea.
    So instead he dives at their knees and if something bad happens he blames it on Goodell so he can save face in front of his peers.

  49. rushbacker says: Dec 9, 2013 9:12 PM

    harrisonhits2 says:
    Dec 9, 2013 8:02 PM
    detectivejimmymcnulty says:
    Dec 9, 2013 7:35 PM
    Honestly what’s a defender supposed to do?
    _______________________

    How about not intentionally aim a kill shot by planting your helmet on the target’s knee when you’re coming 90 degrees from the side and moving at full speed ?

    He could have wrapped Gronks legs up and taken him down without trashing his knee.

    Its very disingenuous of the players to say they can only hit the knees now. And to claim they need not only to hit the knees but in a way that injures a player for a year is ridiculous.
    __________________________

    No, what’s ridiculous is your expectation that guys moving that fast can always land a blow with absolute precision on a target that’s moving as fast as they are.

  50. librarianfootballfan says: Dec 9, 2013 9:15 PM

    matt14gg says:
    Dec 9, 2013 8:15 PM

    Honestly, I’ve always thought that adults have the right to decide how they want to play the game. Most players will tell you they would rather have a concussion than a torn ACL, but arrogant idiots decide that these adults can’t think for themselves so “we” will decide for them that when they get older they are better off walking funny (or not at all) as opposed to having trouble remembering where they live.

    Frankly, I’d rather live in a world where we allow people to think for themselves instead of having an all powerful body think for them, but let’s face it…those days are gone forever.

    ——
    The problem with that line of thinking is human nature. Of course a player would choose the value of playing now, rather than protecting his future health. The consequences of brain injury is huge, but really invisible at the time that the player is making that decision. The knee injury is immediate and very visible. While the consequence of the knee injury may be short term —- a loss of a season of play —or long term —- an ending of a career —- brain injury can be extremely destructive to one’s whole life —– including loved ones —– right up to loss of life.

    I’m a Pats fan, and I’m really sad that my team is truly hurt by this missing player. But I would rather have that, then see Gronk put a gun to his head ten years from now, like Junior Seau.

  51. pats777 says: Dec 9, 2013 9:26 PM

    How about try tackling with your arms instead of launching yourself like a missile helmet first at guys knees? Nah, these showboats threw fundamental football out the window years ago. They would much rather jack a receiver up then tackle the old fashioned way.

  52. ipitydafu says: Dec 9, 2013 9:52 PM

    TJ didn’t intentionally blow out Gronk’s knee. You can see on film is just bad luck. He launched himself (a little too early) and Gronk just happened to be planting his leg fully extended at the same time.

    Just a freak accident.

    And Pats777, no DB is going to be able to arm tackle Gronk at full steam.

    Also he did not even touch him with his helmet. His side is what collided with Gronk. His helmet was know where near the injury.

  53. abninf says: Dec 9, 2013 9:57 PM

    favresweiner says:

    The strike zone of above the knees and under the neck. You don’t have to “go for the knees” because of the new rule.
    ===================================

    Easy to say when you don’t have to bring down a 240 pound guy running full sprint. Some of you never played a day of football.

  54. dmuehlhausen says: Dec 9, 2013 10:06 PM

    They need to start having players sign waivers. They all know the risks, they except them, and most, even ones that have long last effects, openly admit they would go through it again to be able to play.

    With the waiver you are free from legal ramifications and you can get back to letting them play football.

  55. source7769 says: Dec 9, 2013 10:09 PM

    NFL did it to themselves with wanting more offense real easy bring back the bump and run then dbs stay closer to the receivers and the hits arent as harsh and less zone defense will be played

  56. steelersaredogsteam says: Dec 9, 2013 10:21 PM

    We win uh lot

  57. T.D. says: Dec 9, 2013 10:24 PM

    jimbobobjr says:
    Dec 9, 2013 8:04 PM

    Goodell cares nothing about player safety. He only cares about not getting sued. Unfortunately, the only way to stop these low hits to the knees is for Keller, Gronk, and others who have knee injuries to file a class action suit against the league.
    ———————————————————-
    Won’t work. The key to the success (or apparent likelihood of success sufficient to get a large settlement) was that the long-term effects of repeated headshots and teams sending players back in while still concussed was known by the League but not obvious to players. As a result, the League was negligent in that it failed to both inform its players of the significant health risk and failed to take measures to reduce the risk. In essence, the League was facing an uphill battle, especially the further back it went, trying to argue that the players were fully informed of the risks yet chose to play notwithstanding that knowledge.

    The difference here is that no court is going to buy that players aren’t fully aware that running at high speed into another player who, at high speed, tries to cut your legs out from under you carries a huge risk of leg and knee damage. The NFL isn’t sitting on some secret medical reports that low hits cause serious injuries, sometimes career-ending injuries. The NFL, as a result, is not facing liability for those sorts of hits, giving it no legal reason to change them, and can credibly argue that Keller and Gronkowski both knew what the risks were and chose to assume them by strapping on helmets and accepting paychecks.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if the NFL, unofficially, took the position that it didn’t want to make any significant rule changes that might lead to players trying to hit higher than they otherwise would, out of concern that banning low hits might lead to an increase, even a small one, in headshots and concussions as players aim higher while receivers and running backs continue to drop their heads to try to grind out additional yards. Frankly, the NFL would probably prefer its players target an opponent’s knees and ensure they don’t go helmet-to-helmet rather than have them try to drive their shoulder into a receiver’s chest only to have the receiver cut or otherwise dip his head, resulting in an inadvertent headshot.

  58. @HowdyDoobie says: Dec 9, 2013 10:27 PM

    When these guys can’t walk in 20 years the NFL is going to have a knee lawsuit on their hands.

  59. hakunamangata says: Dec 9, 2013 10:29 PM

    How bout we try tackling?

    You know where you wrap up the ball carrier and use the momentum from your hips and tourque of twisting your body to bring your opponent down?

    Instead of running full speed into someone and turning yourself into a meat missile.

  60. edgerules says: Dec 9, 2013 10:44 PM

    Well, the NFL wanted this. However, I think it is time to go back to old fashioned tackling. No need to fire yourself like a missile. I don’t think it’s gonna happen though, so I am for rules protecting the knees.

  61. granadafan says: Dec 9, 2013 10:51 PM

    Some of you people should watch a rugby game sometime. These guys are not allowed to hit the hit high and know how to wrap up. I get the frustration of defenders thanks to the lawyers who now run the NFL, but there adjustments defenders CAN make like learning how to tackle.

  62. wishingtonredslur says: Dec 9, 2013 11:03 PM

    I thought Washington was bringing home the beat down trophy this week, happily the league saved the best for last!

  63. harrisonhits2 says: Dec 9, 2013 11:08 PM

    They were talking today on Boston sports radio about how the frequency of torn ACLs has gone up dramatically in the last couple years in the NFL.

    2011 there were 25
    2012 there were (IIRC) 37
    2013 is on track for 50 players with torn ACLs

    Ie; in the last 2 years the league has improved player safety by addressing concussions but at the same time has ignored the doubling of ACL tears in just a 2 year period.

  64. savvybynature says: Dec 9, 2013 11:11 PM

    1) Bring back bump coverage and allow more contact before the throw. Safeties and linebackers sitting in a zone waiting to blow someone up really started when the league changed the rules to increase scoring.
    2) Get rid of hard shell helmets. They obviously are not preventing concussions, but are actually causing them as well as other injuries because they are used like a weapon.
    Helmets are designed like cars used to be: to last, even in the face of severe collisions. Well guess what? The cars lasted but the people didn’t. Now they design cars to crumple rather easily, absorbing more of the contact and saving lives in the process.
    Helmet makers should take notice. Make helmets that crumple, get jacked up, and have to be replaced, rather than trying to make something to last all season. Helmets should be more like a soft plastic bubble wrap than hard-shelled armor.
    Why the league refuses to look at this issue is baffling.

  65. doe22us says: Dec 9, 2013 11:38 PM

    Men, i wonder how some of you will feel if someone blew out your knee and tore your acl, pcl or whatever l, you wouldnt be preaching low hits. Hypocrisy is indeed outstanding, there is a target area where if you hit hard form tackle its legal. Lets face it some of these players for the amount of years they have played football cant tackle for scoot. Meriweather comes to mind.

  66. phillyphannnn83 says: Dec 9, 2013 11:51 PM

    Sorry bud, nature of the game. Stop the legs, stop the runner. Man up, you don’t play tennis.

  67. rodneyharrisonstruckstick says: Dec 10, 2013 12:40 AM

    I don’t understand how these hits are considered a “blow to a defenseless player” just as when its to the head. The knee should be considered the same. AND DONT SIT THERE WATCHING SLOW MOTION SAYING HE HAD TIME TO PREPARE. If you “spear” someones knee going full speed, lining them up while they are receiving a catch and turning their head – is to me one of the scummiest things you could do.

    The NFL “Player safety movement” is a farse, obviously and purely a deterrent towards any future litigation against them regarding concussions, it has no integrity regarding an honest desire to improve player safety. Yes these new head rules have resulted in more low hits, but the Fact that players use this as an excuse to blatantly go for a guys knee is a cop-out. Purly an excuse for the defensive player to make the easiest play for himself while putting the other player in sever danger. Without any respect or care for his opponents well being. to me that’s a sub human attitude. Most of the guys who make those hits, Meriweather, TJ Ward, DJ Sweringer, Bernard pollard, are pretty much sub human characters. so it fits.

    Omitting guilt is still lying. Technicality’s don’t make you innocent, do you understand this concept people!

  68. doggeatdogg says: Dec 10, 2013 12:59 AM

    @TD

    Perhaps changes will happen when there is more carnage from more teams, specifically, from the darling teams of the NFL as owners realize these injuries hurt their bottom line.

    Not that one wishes injury on anyone, but if the commissioner does not intend to address the issue in the offseason, then let there be more broken knees. The more, the better.

    If this was happening to the precious QB, there would have been rules enacted long ago. But it’s WR and TE.

    Interestingly enough, the silence on this issue from the leagues top five QB is deafening. Why aren’t they speaking out?

  69. billiamsofdollars says: Dec 10, 2013 1:08 AM

    metintodd says: Dec 9, 2013 8:20 PM

    Dustin Keller for NFL Commissioner. Seriously, what happened to Gronk Sunday was an embarrassment. TJ Ward should be ashamed of himself. He’s pulled this crap before with these cheap shots. It’s an embarrassment to the league.

    There’s a whole area on the body between the knee and the head that can be hit that would not result in the devastating season-ending injury that Gronk suffered on that cheap shot. Too late for Gronk but NFL needs to change the rule today. You can’t have star players being lost for the season on cheap shots like this.

    ———————————————-

    luke8512 says:Dec 9, 2013 9:08 PM

    This is just an excuse used by some defensive players who refuse to change their ways and learn to tackle. Ward always has gone for the blow up hit and knowing that if he’d try that on a player bigger the him he’d bounce off like a flea.
    So instead he dives at their knees and if something bad happens he blames it on Goodell so he can save face in front of his peers.

    ************************************

    I have seen several posts like these over the past day and a half. It’s understandable that some fans are upset. But this is a routine tackling method that is used dozens and dozens of times each week across the NFL. I watched some of this game, and saw a Patriots player do the same thing to the Cleveland tight end Cameron in the first half. Do you remember the play where he flipped over after catching a pass? It’s because a Patriot dove at his legs exactly like Ward did to Gronkowski.

  70. beachsidejames says: Dec 10, 2013 7:05 AM

    Rugby is cool..if thats what you want to watch. I like watching football. Maybe the TE position play calling needs to be adjusted to not leave the player so vulnerable. They have become more offensive weapons where the d-backs can t-off on them with a running start. But thats the game and you make adjustments in play. Can’t hit high, can’t hit low, can’t hit the qb? I say hit them all and keep the game tough and physical. Worried about losing player? Expand the roster by 10.

  71. dmretrogames says: Dec 10, 2013 7:27 AM

    By how much does Gronk outweigh Ward? Have you ever played football? Do you know anything about physics?

    Ward and other DBs will be out of a job if they continually get trucked by going too high on much larger ball carriers.

    “There’s a whole area on the body between the knee and the head that can be hit that would not result in the devastating season-ending injury that Gronk suffered on that cheap shot. Too late for Gronk but NFL needs to change the rule today. You can’t have star players being lost for the season on cheap shots like this.”

  72. nzyme says: Dec 10, 2013 8:06 AM

    Now when they get older they can sue the NFL because they can’t walk anymore. It’s a violent game that’s participated in with the consent of the athletes. The injuries and long terms effects are something you can’t escape. DEAL WITH IT!

  73. dstroi says: Dec 10, 2013 8:17 AM

    “The NFL, however, wants players to stop thinking of concussions as injuries that are easy to brush off. And if the NFL’s player safety rules mean players are lowering their targets, that’s exactly what the NFL wants”.
    *******************************************
    Tell this statement to the family of Junior Seau. Listen, I understand the repercussions that NFL players embark on playing this sport and I am sure they do as well. This is what they get paid to do so understandably they should know as well, but again I do think a lot of these players use this rule as a scapegoat for shady tackles. What ever happened to the game of legit tackling? Why not tackle someone from the shoulders down to the thigh area? Wrap them up? If you are going to launch at someone, why not any of those areas? Incidental tackles happen all the time in football but that hit from Ward could’ve been avoided in my opinion. There is a difference between a deliberately launched tackle and a football tackle. But unfortunately, until these rules are modified, a lot of players will be exposed to serious injuries here on out.

  74. tigerlilac says: Dec 10, 2013 8:35 AM

    The hit on Gronk was the equivalent of a downfield chopblock, with one player hitting him high and another taking out his knee low. Gronk had just caught the ball, was running almost full speed, and was defenseless to make a play to absorb the hit. People talk about the size and speed of players making the game more dangerous but it is often safeties, that are neither the biggest or fastest players, that are causing these injuries. Why? Because if Ward hit Gronk at the waist or chest (where we were taught to tackle in our youth) there is a high probability he wouldn’t make the tackle. In hockey, if you take a player out at the knees you are a marked man; in the NFL you get to hide behind the rules and blame Goodell.

  75. rroberti98 says: Dec 10, 2013 8:47 AM

    It’s th nfl brutal game what would you rather be a vegetable who cant remember your sons name when you are 45 or walking with crutches for the rest of your days? Its the greatest game on earth but you’re damed if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

  76. tigerlilac says: Dec 10, 2013 8:48 AM

    To the posters making excuses for Ward, especially those implying a tackle is an imprecise art, I respectfully say bs. These safeties leave their feet to get that low which actually takes power and control away from their tackle. They often lead with the crown of the helmet (suppose to be illegal) and they often go for the knees. Ward wasn’t trying to wrap up Gronk’s body. It wasn’t just Ward and Browns that hit low. I believe it was Amendola after Brady’s interception that tried to make a tackle at the knees on the linebacker.

  77. wiley16350 says: Dec 10, 2013 9:43 AM

    It’s funny, I have played tackle backyard football for over 20 years now. Never wear a helmet, never wear pads. Never have we had anybody leave the field with broken bones or concussions. Nobody ever throws their body at somebody’s knees or launches their head into somebody else’s head. Amazingly (according to many of you) people still get tackled. I mean how does that happen if we don’t hit high or low. I bet it’s because we tackle instead of hit. Tackling, is strength against strength and best man wins or a smaller man wrapping his arms around the bigger guys legs and basically hog tying him to the ground, smartly getting an advantage over his opponent. Hitting is one guy attacking or blindsiding another guy who has no way to protect himself from the attack. Hitting is not necessary, it is used for intimidation or to cause incompletions and/or turnovers. People need to stop thinking that to get rid of hitting is the same as getting rid of tackling. Most of the time runningbacks are tackled, while receivers are hit. Only really great defenders have the guts to hit runningbacks like they hit receivers (Dick Butkus, Night Train Lane) and they usually attacked guys when they had the ball and running at them not in the process of catching where they are at a disadvantage. Now days, defenders only hit when they have the advantage and consistently take guys out even when there is no need to, just to lay a big hit. To hit a guy hard that has the ability to hit you hard too is impressive, but to hit a guy hard that is at your mercy isn’t that tough. I enjoy watching the big hits just as much as the next guy but I also understand and have empathy for the guys that get injured and can no longer play the game because some opponent wasn’t man enough to take him head on.

  78. mrmidevil says: Dec 10, 2013 10:44 AM

    WAAAA!!! He hit me low, WAAAA!!! He hit me high…..

    Get over it. NFL should make these pre-Madonna’s sign a waiver that clears them. I mean these guys are getting paid MILLIONS to catch a damn ball.

    It is a hazardous career, but that’s why you get paid. Cops and military get shot at, risk their LIVES, and make in a year what you pull down in a game.

    No sympathy given!!!!

  79. blazophoto says: Dec 10, 2013 12:18 PM

    A few things.
    I’m a Dolphins fan—but after what Gronk just came back from—to have this happen now really is bad luck and basically just sucks for him as person and a as a great player.

    Every team has been dealing with injuries, but this just seems like by far the most major injury-stricken season to high caliber players that I can recall.

    These defenders are just launching their bodies into players knees.
    They don’t even attempt to “wrap up” leading with arms out first.
    It’s not like they are even trying to “tackle,”…it’s more like they are just trying to take somebody out however they can.
    They are basically using their bodies as either a battering ram or as baseball bats and something has to be done.

    In some respect I CAN see the fear of fines for hitting high basically giving license to guys to just take other players legs out.
    It’s a convenient excuse for reckless devastating play whether they say the hit was “legal” or not.

    An accidental concussion you might lose a game or two—a knee and you’re done for the year.

    I also think part of the problem is that WRs and TEs have gotten so much bigger, faster and stronger on average, and corners are still 5’9″ to 6’0″ 180-210 on avg. that this is the only way they feel like they can bring these guys down.

    Something has to be done.
    Something.

    ACL tears has literally doubled in the NFL in the last 2 years.
    Coincidence?

    And, no, I’m not a proponent of “flag football,” or the “wussification” of the NFL there’s just been an undeniable disproportionate number of season ending knee injuries that can’t be ignored if we want to see good players play.

    What say you?

  80. mwcarolina says: Dec 10, 2013 2:52 PM

    Understand Keller’s point, but what does he expect. the defense has to try to stop the other team somehow and the best way for a small corner to stop a huge tight end now is to go low. he cant go high or he gets flagged for targetting a defenseless reciever or helmet to helmet. so basically, they have to go low and unless that rule on going high is changed (and it wont be) then you better prepare for them going for your legs.

  81. wiley16350 says: Dec 10, 2013 3:27 PM

    Have any of you watched Antonie Winfield tackle? He was a 5′-9″ 180 LB corner and was considered one of, if not the best corner at tackling and making plays against the running game. Maybe if you did you would understand how it’s possible for a smaller guy to tackle a bigger guy without injuring himself or his opponent. He didn’t have to throw his body recklessly at an opponent to get a tackle because he was smart and put himself in good position to make the play. He used excellent form by wrapping up and bringing the opponent down. Sometimes he would use extra force, but always under control and not recklessly (head up and at the opponents midsection). Watch a highlight film of him and you can see how good tackling doesn’t mean the wussification of the league and can be done within the rules by players that have the talent that allow them to be in good position to always tackle properly.

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