Antrel Rolle: Rules that protect receivers endanger defensive backs


Giants safety Antrel Rolle says the NFL’s rules that protect receivers from being hit when they’re defenseless are the reason he suffered a concussion on Sunday.

Rolle says that he suffered the concussion when he had to adjust on the fly as he was about to hit Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, concerned that he could incur a 15-yard penalty for hitting Bryant while Bryant was defenseless. According to Rolle, that adjustment left him off-balance, and he ended up tripping as he ran into teammate Corey Webster, ultimately resulting in Rolle falling head-first onto the turf.

I was just worried about not giving them extra yards. But there’s no way around that,” Rolle told USA Today. “Does it suck for a defensive player? Yeah, it sucks. It definitely does suck. You can’t play a game the way you’ve been brought up how to play the game. We’re not trying to hurt anyone, but was I trying to detach him from the ball? Absolutely. Had he caught the ball, absolutely. I was there, I had perfect timing. I just couldn’t follow through with it.”

Rolle said that his desire not to take an illegal shot at Bryant led him to endanger himself.

“I definitely put myself in danger because it’s a split second where you have to make that decision,” Rolle said. “It’s not like I could make that decision on the ground because I was already airborne. So me twisting, turning and trying to get out of the way definitely put myself in harm’s way.”

The good news is that Rolle has been cleared to return from his concussion. The question is whether next time, Rolle will be so willing to pull up when he has a shot at a defenseless receiver.

25 responses to “Antrel Rolle: Rules that protect receivers endanger defensive backs

  1. Hard to disagree with his opinion. It was clear he adjusted in the air to miss Dez, and that led to him landing awkwardly.

  2. Rolle I love your passion, but get over it, it’s football as we know it today. Rules are the rules. Go Blue!!!!

  3. U didn’t try to hard u still hit him helmet to helmet with no flag. Next time blow him up get a penalty & save urself a headache. Jason Garrett wouldn’t have accepted the penalty.

  4. I agree with him. You play tough football as a kid in school, then college, then make the NFL as a hard hitter, then they tell you not to. But its the way the League is now and complaining wont change it. Lawyers have found a way to ruin football like everything else in our great country. You have to adapt and change your game.

  5. burnttoast71854 says: Nov 1, 2012 6:22 PM

    U didn’t try to hard u still hit him helmet to helmet with no flag. Next time blow him up get a penalty & save urself a headache. Jason Garrett wouldn’t have accepted the penalty.

    No contact, get over it.

  6. Totally agree with Rolle. Unfortunatly the new rules were more of a PR stunt, and a way to draw more casual fans. Not so much about player safety. Sounds good though.

  7. There needs to be an added judgement aspect to these penalties. If the ONLY reason a receiver gets hit in the helmet is because he lowered his head and the defender had merely a split second to adjust, then I don’t think any penalty should be called. This is big boy football after all, people will get hurt.

  8. I actually broke my collar bone in the same way. Like literally almost the same way, I also bruised a rib on the same fall. From that point on I had never backed off a hit ever again

  9. He’s got a point. I suppose if I came to work and the rules changed after doing something the same for 20 years, it would be difficult to adjust. I would complain the same way, but I would adjust.

    The problem with he NFL is at some point it will stop being the NFL with these rule changes.

  10. Couldn’t agree more. It’s a defenders job to hit an offensive player in an effort to dislodge the ball. Should and unnecessary and dangerous hit to a receiver be flagged? Sure. But a hard hit to a receiver about to catch the ball should be fair game unless it was intentional to hit the player in the head. Any incidental head contact should not be flagged. A hit should only be flagged if it is unnecessary and done with the intent to injure. The referee need to be able to use discretion.

  11. YES football is a violent sport and yes people’s lives are impacted who played the game but stop pretending like they CAN actually prevent injuries. For the first time I actually believe that football will go the way of boxing and horseracing in the future.

  12. Wonder what rolle excuse was when big ben through the ball right over him to santonio holmes to win super bowl xlviii? He got owned then and ben will own him again sunday!!!

  13. Remember when football was football? Back in the glory days the Patriots would have been the laughingstock of the league because the first time Welker or Gronk ran one of those weak crossing patterns, Ronnie Lott or Steve Atwater would have put the hurt on them and they would have had alligator arms the rest of the game.

    Today’s NFL is garbage, full of girl players looking for flags and way, way too many flags.

  14. You can still detach him without helmet ot helmet just don’t lead with the head I don’t see what’s so hard and why u have to adjust your whole body…

  15. I agree 100% with Rolle. The league’s attempts at improving player safety are not only futile but are negatively affecting gameplay every weekend.

    On another note, every one of the head injury suits against the league by retired players should be dismissed as frivolous. I’m sorry, guys, but you signed up to play a dangerous, violent game and you need to be willing to accept the long-term effects of your decision.

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