NFL players beginning to adopt protective Guardian Caps over helmets at practice

Los Angeles Rams Mandatory Minicamp
Getty Images

In March, the NFL passed a new rule that required offensive lineman, tight ends, defensive linemen and linebackers to wear protective Guardian Cap helmet shells over their helmets from the beginning of training camp until the second preseason game. Some players are getting an early start.

Players at several NFL minicamps have been spotted wearing the Guardian Caps, even though they aren’t yet required and practices are currently supposed to be non-contact. Many players want to get a feel for them in advance, or potentially protect themselves from concussions that could come from unintentional contact.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said the soft protective shells can “reduce the amount, the intensity and the timing of head contact.” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told all players to wear the caps during Pittsburgh’s mandatory minicamp, saying he thinks they’re good for player safety and he wants his team to be at the forefront of the new effort.

The additional padding looks odd at first, but the caps will soon be a common sight on NFL practice fields everywhere.

13 responses to “NFL players beginning to adopt protective Guardian Caps over helmets at practice

  1. The NFL lied about concussions and paid to cover it up. I played 8 seasons in the NFL. A sprained ankle was way worse than a sprained brain. No question my eggs are scrambled. What would I change? I didn’t have the knowledge to change. So I guess nothing.

  2. Seems like any additional protection is a good idea, any reason this isn’t being mandated for real games?

  3. The NFL has known since the 1980s that padding on the outside of helmets reduces concussions. It’s just taken this long for the negative PR of head injuries to outweigh the negative PR of ugly helmets.

  4. They should. Protect your assets. They use tape to protect themselves from injury. They wear knee braces and things to protect form injury. Wearing another level of protection seems like a no brainer. Sure it looks funny, but seems like a smart move. Surprised it hasnt been mandated yet.

  5. To clarify my previous post about mandating it. I am surprised it hasnt been mandated for all players, any time they are on the practice field.

  6. Willie Lanier was wearing padding on the outside of his helmet 60 years ago. Players have consistently resisted helmet innovations, so I don’t see this becoming widespread in games until they can make them not look silly.

  7. I would wear clown shoes, a big red nose, and panty hose (ala Joe Namath) for the money they are paying the players. Add in that the Guardian helmets can possibly extend your career and give you a better life after football and the decision to use them should be obvious!

  8. These are truly stupid and serve no purpose other than quite the noise of helmets banging together. There is no way to protect the brain. It floats in fluid in the skull, during impact it slaps against the inside of the skull causing a concussion. As long as they wear helmets there will be concussions. Remove the helmets and guys are less likely to fly around so much as to hit their head.

  9. One peripheral benefit to wearing those in practice is keeping a thrower from banging his hand on a hard helmet.
    Who cares how they look?

  10. Using them in practice, they don’t have to look good, they just have to work. If it keeps players healthier, more able to play at their best during their careers and reduce the negative impact of brain injuries post-football, they I’m all for them. I assume if they work in practice, then they’ll look at ways to make them look better and cleaner for the TV cameras.

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