Steelers safety Clark's frustration with NFL grows
By Alan Robinson
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 3:33 p.m.
Can't hit high. Can't hit low. Steelers safety Ryan Clark is starting to wonder where defensive players can hit as the NFL weighs even more measures to protect players.
Ray Anderson, the NFL's operations chief, told the Associated Press that the league's competition committee would explore taking action if it finds that hits to the knees are becoming a problem.
“I'm disgusted,” he said.
Currently, only hits to the head and neck of defenseless players are prohibited. But direct hits to the knees, such as ones that injured Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller and Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams during the preseason, drew rebukes from some players.
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez was especially outspoken about what he called the “ridiculous” hit by Texans rookie D.J. Swearinger on Keller, who is out for the season with several torn ligaments.
That prompted Clark to say, “If an offensive player makes enough stink about something, they'll change it.”
“You can't protect everything. You want to protect the head, you've done that. Now you have to let us play,” Clark said. “Now if it's guys being hit low, that's just a part of it.”
Clark predicted there would be an increase in low hits as soon as the NFL began its campaign against concussion-inducing head shots. He was fined $40,000 two years ago for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Ed Dickson, a week after he was fined $15,000 penalty for an out-of-bounds hit on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
“If you start penalizing guys or fining guys a lot for hits up top, guys go to the other extreme,” Clark said. “Guys know there is no way possible I'm going to get fined if I go low. And I said it, it's going to be one or other. Guys are maybe going to hit up high and maybe risk a concussion or hurting a shoulder. And if you get hit low, the season is going to be over (with a knee injury).”
Eliminating shots down low would put defensive players, especially defensive backs, at a significant disadvantage, Clark said.
“If they decide to change rule, they might as well put flags (on players) and start playing flag football,” Clark said. “Because then you give a guy like myself, who's 200 pounds, a two-foot area to stop a guy who's 240 pounds, 250 running at full speed and that's going to be kind of hard to do.”
If the legislation continues, Clark said, pretty soon football won't be football.
“If every time someone gets hurt we decide we're going to take that play out of football, it's going to be a different game,” Clark said. “They'll need to change the name of it and change the name of the league.”
Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers film session: Polamalu not at fault on long run
- Host of Steelers veterans look toward career survival mode
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- Defensive lapses against Dolphins outweigh positives for Steelers
- Former Steeler Wallace plays bit part in Dolphins victory
- Likely loss of Steelers draft pick looms because of Tomlin misstep
- Steelers’ NFL playoff hopes are all but gone in loss to Dolphins
- Steelers notebook: Polamalu teaches Tannehill lesson
- Robinson: Video review reveals Steelers coach’s sideline movements in Baltimore were out of character
- Penguins’ Orpik out; Neal to have phone hearing