Chris Canty says he can’t play without big facemask


Chris Canty’s not doing it for fashion.

The Ravens defensive lineman has been wearing a modified facemask with an eye shield since he suffered a detached retina in 2005, and he hopes to continue, so he can continue to play.

“Not sure what the memo or new policy is, but it’s simple for me,” Canty told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “No eye shield and custom mask means I can’t play. Eye would be at risk.”

The league is trying to limit the number of modified and oversized facemasks as a safety rule, but will allow players who have had medical exemptions for them to reapply.

Canty and three other players were granted such permission last year, and he understands why it has caught on.

“I invented it,” Canty said. “It’s that simple. I can’t play without it. I can’t help it that other guys think it’s cool and they want to wear it, too. It’s a necessity for me.”

We’ll see how many others are allowed the exception, or try to come up with a reason why it’s necessary for them too.

27 responses to “Chris Canty says he can’t play without big facemask

  1. I agree that he should be allowed to wear it, as should anyone with a history of eye or neck issues. But it is somewhat ironic that the picture of him in this article shows him with his hand inside someone else’s facemask.

  2. Canty can’t put a shield on a standard facemask like 90 percent of the league does? He thinks it’s cool, I think it’s cool, goodell doesn’t know what’s cool. Roger should mandate him the old school kicker helmet, 1 single bar. Let canty put a visor on that.

  3. It’s amazing he is playing at all considering the surgery he had. Good luck, Chris!

  4. I love the logic here.

    Since the non-standard helmets make players feel safer, they are thus using their safer helmets to take greater risk by dropping their helmets to engage contact. So it’s so safe that it’s become dangerous. Hilarious.

  5. This is about limiting the individuality of players for contract leverage. Players dont need to be identifiable on the field because then fans point them out and become more fond of them, gives the players more name recognition and more leverage in negotiations.

  6. “If I don’t wear it, I don’t play,” Canty told The New York Times in 2011, while tracing scars around his left eye.

    “Maybe I don’t even see,” he added while tapping the visor.

    When people get the courage to ask if he’s always had a lazy eye, Canty tells them the story from a January 2005 night when he was at a bar in Arizona with other NFL draft hopefuls. A fight broke out across the room, and Canty immediately headed for the door to avoid any trouble with the NFL Combine days away.

    Then a beer bottle came flying his direction, and bam, hit him on the side of his face, causing him to fall. He awoke in a hospital room with his face bandaged, and knew quickly that something was serious by the look on doctors’ faces.

    “Any time they have to cut into your eyeball, it’s not a small thing,” Canty told New York Times writer Sam Borden. “It’s not a small deal at all.”

    He had emergency surgery and several procedures followed. The injury and a knee operation cut his season short at Virginia, and he was later taken in the fourth round by the Cowboys when he was originally believed to be a first-rounder.

    Canty’s eye doctor told him his career could be over because of the potential of an opposing player poking his eye. That’s when “The Big Grille” was born.

    Of course, it took a few tries to perfect the facemask. At first he played with a visor that covered the length of his facemask, but he had a hard time breathing. A few versions later, he found a design that worked, even though he doesn’t have perfect vision.

    “It’s good enough,” said Canty, who has grown accustomed to finding opponents through a spider’s web.

    But please go back to thinking he’s doing this solely to look cool.

  7. If he really need the custom mask ok I get it but if he’s complaining with an agenda to keep his superstitions satisfied that’s sad

  8. The problem with the non-standard face masks is they put the NOCSAE certification at risk as the specialty masks – helmet combos wouldn’t be tested. Once they settle this concussion suit, the League is going to make dang sure they limit any reasons for future litigation.

  9. Why is the NFL butting in to facemasks of choice? Let the players trot out the facemask of their choosing.

    This is absurd.

  10. In a league the ‘says” they stress SAFETY..why would the league ban a helmet that makes a player safer?..does it matter what kind of bars are on the helmet?..or not (Joe Theisman’s single bar)..hey No fun league..go after real issues like players taking legal subtances that you ban..or a player dunking a football on a goal know things that really matter..jeez

  11. It also would help protect you from a wayward penalty flag tossed by an official that goes through your facemask and pokes you in the eye and blinds you for life like Orlando “Zeus” Brown of the then original Cleveland Browns.

    I was watching that game when it happened and good grief it took the WHOLE team to hold Zeus back and he still got his hand on the official’s jersey.

    If I was that official and I saw a guy like Zeus coming for me and I was the one that made him angry….no doubt I would run for the hills. You kidding me? I am 5’10” 200lbs and he’s what…6’8” and listed at 360lbs and makes his living tossing around guys that weigh 100+lbs more than me?

    You’d run too.

  12. As long as there are LEGITIMATE health reasons, allow the player to get the mask safety certified through whatever org NFL deems appropriate, then move on. There are definitely bigger issues out there that need more attention than this one.

  13. This is either a dumb article or dumb player. The league said clearly that they would make exceptions for players who have medical reasons to do so. Having an eye problem that was football related is pretty much exactly what they said they would allow !

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