For the first time ever, certain players on every NFL team (OL, DL, LB, TE) are required to wear Guardian Caps in practice through the first two weeks of the preseason. Some players don’t like it. On Wednesday, Seahawks defensive lineman Shelby Harris made it clear that he doesn’t.
“They’re stupid,” Harris told reporters. “Because here’s the thing though, I get what they’re trying to do, but the main thing is, you might have guys that start leading with their head more because they’re used to not feeling it, and don’t know they’re doing it, because they have this big old helmet thing on. And then you get in the game, and next thing you know, they knock themselves out. I don’t know, I just don’t think this is necessarily the answer because of the fact that if you do get used to getting hit in the head with this, you wouldn’t even know. But, you do something in practice without that thing on, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m not doing that again.'”
He said it’s not awkward, and that he doesn’t really feel it on his head. But he’s concerned that it will create a false sense of security.
“I honestly think that you will end up having more head-to-head blows because you’re used to having the helmet pad on,” Harris said. “I get what they’re trying to do now, but I think later on it’s going to cause more of a problem.”
But it’s not as if the Guardian Caps eliminate the consequences of blows to the head. It only reduces the impact by 10 percent, which isn’t all that much.
And it’s up to coaches to teach and players to use proper techniques, so that they don’t get so comfortable with Guardian Caps that they become reckless when they’re off.