On Wednesday, Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin said that his team wants to knock out Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, legally.
On Thursday, the Jets could be getting a call from the NFL.
Key words: Could be.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello explained to PFT the general procedures that apply, without specifically addressing whether those general procedures apply in this specific case.
“On a confidential basis when we believe it is appropriate, we contact teams about certain comments to remind them of their responsibility to play within the rules and that the comments will lead to close scrutiny of their play,” Aiello said.
Eight years ago, the NFL provided a less-than-confidential warning to the Browns after defensive tackle Gerard Warren used a now-familiar refrain regarding then-rookie Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: “Kill the head and the body’s dead.”
“We notified the team, including Gerard Warren, that if a player commits a flagrant foul after making such a statement, it may be a decisive factor supporting the suspension of the player, depending on the entire set of circumstances,” Aiello said at the time.
With greater-than-ever sensitivity to the question of whether players may try to injure opponents via clean, legal hits, it won’t be a surprise if the NFL tells the Jets to give Maybin a glass of sand, a box of crackers, and/or a gallon of peanut butter. But it’s unlikely that the NFL will publicize it this time. The league has managed so far to avoid the debate regarding whether it’s possible to regulate the bad intentions of players who play within the rules, and that’s a small cylindrical metal container that the NFL will kick cleanly and legally down the road for as long as it can.