Harrison apologized Thursday for saying after the win over the Browns that he tries to hurt people on the field. Other players didn’t make the kind of claim Harrison did Sunday, but they emphasized all week that the league was handcuffing them.
“I don’t want anyone to get hurt like that, but at the same time, what our coaches and every coach in this league tells his player is you want to separate the man from the ball,” Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman said. “You want to hit him hard. You all get jacked up for that.”
The message from the league is: “Get jacked up all you want, just keep it legal.”
As Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a web chat Thursday:
“For decades we have made changes to the game and eliminated techniques that have made the game safer, and the reaction has been similar _ that it will change the game forever. You can look at changes such as removing clothesline (hits), chop blocks, crack-back block, and horse-collar tackles, that have all improved the safety of the game. The game continues to flourish.”
Goodell, Anderson and, hopefully the players, recognize there is more to do. They could even take their cue from hockey.
When hockey executives held a two-day summit on concussions at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., this week, more than 250 doctors, experts and hockey officials discussed ways to cut down on concussions, especially in youth hockey. Those meetings received infinitesimal attention compared to Sunday’s NFL action _ and the league’s subsequent reaction.
Such a seminar is a terrific idea and something the NFL should pursue. No sport is watched more closely for head and neck injuries than football. That places a tremendous responsibility on the NFL. It lived up to that responsibility this week, and must carry it further.