Luckily for him, it wasn’t his hair.
Babin ended up with a handful of Andre Ellington’s hair after he tackled the Arizona Cardinals running back late in the third quarter of the Cardinals’ 27-14 victory at EverBank Field. More than a handful, actually. Nearly 2 feet of dreadlocks.
"Seems like everyone’s making a big deal about it," Babin said. "But it’s just one of the plays in the football game."
NFL rules state that a player’s hair hanging out of the back of his helmet is considered part of the uniform, therefore making it fair game to be used to tackle a runner. It usually happens when a defensive player is chasing a runner down from behind, but on Sunday it happened on a play in the middle of the field, a carry in which Ellington lost a yard.
As the tangle of players got up, Babin stood up with Ellington’s hair in his right hand. It’s not the first time it has happened to him, Ellington said, but he said this may be the first time it was done intentionally.
"I didn't know what was going on," Ellington said. “I was getting tackled and I looked and saw that he had a handful of my hair. It was a little dirty play by their part, but it's OK, we got the win. I didn't feel it at all. With the adrenalin flowing, I didn't feel anything. You don't feel anything when you're being tackled by some of those 300-pounders.
"I saw him holding it and said, 'Come on, man.' He said, 'It's part of the uniform.' I've lost some before, but not that much came out at one time like this. Guys don't intentionally try to grab it out. I think he was trying to grab it and pull it out."
Babin denied that.
"It was one of those things," Babin said. "It wasn’t like it was pre-planned. It just happened. When you’ve got that much hanging out of the back of your helmet, sometimes I imagine it gets grabbed."
Babin dropped the hair on the field as he walked to the sideline.
"Their guy looked down and was like, 'Oh, man, that's nasty,'" Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks said. "I was like, 'Actually, that's your running back's hair,' and he laughed at it. It was a pretty funny moment."
Ellington’s hair stayed on the field for a while until Cardinals defensive tackle Frostee Rucker picked it up and brought it to the sideline and gave it to him.
Jaguars players were laughing about it in the locker room after the game.
"That’s just Babs being Babs," Marks said. “Get a guy down any way you can. If you don’t grab his hair, you grab his jersey [and] he slips out, he could take it to the house."