Understandably, players who don’t want to wear leg pads are not reacting favorably to the NFL’s decision that, come 2013, they’ll have to wear leg pads.
“There’ll probably be a lot of fines in 2013,” Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “A lot of guys won’t wear them.”
That group includes Jammer.
“It’s dumb,” Jammer said. “Ridiculous to me. I don’t think anybody should be required to wear [them]. I don’t get hit, so I don’t need to worry about pads. Offensive players should wear them because we hit them, but I don’t think it should be mandatory.
“You play this game because you want to play this game, and the risks you take are the risks you take. If you don’t want to wear hip pads, knee pads or thigh pads, you shouldn’t have to. It should be a choice.”
Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson, who joined the team in March from the Ravens, was more pointed.
“It’s a bunch of guys who never played football before,” Johnson said. “You hear it all the time. They’re saying, ‘Why do players always complain about player safety if they’re not going to wear thigh pads?’ Well, thigh bruises and knee bruises aren’t ending careers.
“The repetitive amount of hits we take, day in and day out — this, to me, is a P.R. stunt. . . . If you get hit in the legs, you’re doing something wrong. You’re either getting cut or standing there. Usually, when guys are aggressive and they’re hitting back, the legs aren’t usually getting hit.”
If the NFLPA agrees to the change, it won’t matter. And it won’t simply be a matter of paying fines. Like all other uniform violations, the NFL eventually will prevent a non-conforming player from taking the field.
That’ll be the quickest way to get all players to accept the changes.