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.