Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Forte unhappy with NFL rule change
By Jeff Dickerson
CHICAGO -- The rule change passed by NFL owners on Wednesday that will penalize offensive and defensive players for crown of the helmet hits outside the tackle box did not sit well Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte.
Forte called the potential rule change "absurd" on Sunday but his pleas fell on deaf ears as the rule change passed 31-1, with only the Cincinnati Bengals voting against it.
Within an hour of the decision, Forte again took to his Twitter account to voice his displeasure.
"Wow so they really passed that rule …. last time I checked football was a contact sport," Forte tweeted. "Calling bank now to set up my lowering the boom fund."
It will now be a 15-yard penalty if a player who is more than 3 yards downfield or outside of the tackle box delivers a blow with the crown of his helmet. If the offensive and defensive player each lowers his head and uses the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.
"Guess I'll get my fine money ready," Forte tweeted. "Next year they'll probably be a no jumping over defenders rule….#loweringtheboomfund."
One of the top all-purpose backs in the league, Forte signed an extension with the Bears last summer that included $17.1 million in guarantees. He is the fourth-leading rusher in Bears history with 5,327 yards in just 75 games. Forte's 7,652 yards from scrimmage are the fourth highest total of any player since his rookie season of 2008.
St. Louis Rams coach and NFL competition committee member Jeff Fisher explained why the committee push so hard for the new rule to be passed.
"The membership was really, really excited," Fisher said. "One of the few times that you have heard people clap. This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to emphasize player safety. Our game is safe and has been getting safer over time. The players' habits, their reactions, their responses to rule changes, you see it on the field. This is just another step in that direction. Some of the discussions we had in the last few days was how it was going to be officiated, how is it going to be coached, those type of things.
"Every time we make a change like this, there are adjustments to be made, and so I think this is a huge victory for the National Football League. Not that we were going to battle against ourselves but it is a great step in the right direction to provide more information for the little guys putting helmets on for the first time all the way up to our level."