Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray sees a link between two of the big stories of the NFL offseason: The new rule against hitting opponents with the top of the helmet, and Tony Romo’s new contract.
Murray told reporters that he’ll continue to go head first into opposing tacklers, regardless of the rule against it, and that if he gets fined for it, he thinks Romo can help him out
“I’m not changing my running style,” Murray told the San Antonio Express-News. “If I get fined, hopefully Romo will take care of the first couple for me. I’m doing it for him.”
Romo did get a new six-year, $108 million contract this year, but there are a few problems with Murray’s plan: First, it’s against the rules for one player to pay the fines of another player. Second, if Murray does break the new helmet rule, he’ll cost his team 15 yards in addition to costing himself money — and Romo may not be able to bail him out there. And third, the helmet rule is designed not just to protect the tackler but to protect the running back as well.
That’s why Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown says he is instructing Murray to keep his head up rather than lowering his helmet, and to try harder to run past defenders, instead of trying to run through them.
“We’ve talked about it. We are going to have a plan to try to get better than that. He’s explosive enough that he can freeze people’s feet and get away from them and do the things he needs to do to gain more yards,” Brown said. “What is going to happen is he’s going to be better because he will be able to see. He will have to keep his eyes up, his head up. . . . We want them to be safe. We want them after their careers are done to be able to play with their children and things like that. So it is a bigger picture. It’s for their future. . . . If you keep your head up, you can see what’s going on. If you drop your head . . . you are going to break your neck eventually.”
That message, more than a fine, may be enough to convince Murray to follow the new rule.