TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Paterno, Ditka offer solutions to dicey hits

Steelers/NFL Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
 

Penn State coach Joe Paterno and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka agree on one way to possibly eliminate helmet-to-helmet hits in football: Get rid of the facemask.

"I have been saying (it) for 15 years," Paterno said. "Then, you would get back to shoulder blocking and shoulder tackling and you wouldn't have all those heroes out there. Guys (would) have to worry about broken noses, knocked-out teeth, which we would like to prevent, but you don't get anything for nothing.

"We used to have one single bar; now we have a weapon."

Ditka, a former Pitt All-American tight end and Super Bowl-winning coach of the Chicago Bears, said Monday on ESPN Radio that pass catchers were getting "necktied" coming across the middle as long ago as the 1950s.

"The league is now paying more attention to it," he said.

Ditka said the hit on Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson by the Atlanta Falcons' Dunta Robinson on Sunday was legal.

"But the results aren't what you want out of pro football," he said. "Somebody is going to get hurt very, very badly. I'm sure (Jackson) is going to have a headache for a lot of weeks."

Ditka went even further with his opinion, remarking that if no one wore helmets, there would not be an increase in head injuries.

"I don't think people would strike with the head as much," he said. "You would learn to strike with the shoulder pads if you didn't have a helmet on your head."

On a less radical note, he said, "You take the facemasks off the helmets and those pretty boys aren't going to be doing all this stuff."

Meanwhile, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said his school carefully monitors big hits by its players.

"You get a letter of reprimand, a suspension and you can even get an ejection," he said. "I try my best to run a very clean program. I've been talking with (Big East) supervisor of officials Terry McAulay about the penalties and how to clean them up. If you err on the side of safety, and you continue to call it, then maybe we can help youngsters."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Steelers

  1. Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
  2. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  3. Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
  4. Steelers notebook: Tomlin says Latrobe session won’t differ from normal practice
  5. Starkey: Garoppolo baffles Steelers
  6. Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
  7. Inside the Steelers: Williams’ quickness out of backfield evident in drills
  8. Steelers notebook: LB Dupree sits out backs-on–backers drill
  9. Tight ends’ role in Steelers passing game continues to lessen but players remain selfless
  10. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  11. Steelers RB Bell ready despite being in limbo