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Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Steve Tasker on Sal Alosi uproar: So what?

By Tim Graham

Steve Tasker, perhaps the greatest gunner in NFL history, had an interesting response to the theory the New York Jets instruct their players to defend their sideline on punt returns:

"So what?"

Tasker was not offended by the idea and essentially said he appreciated it -- even though he handled the role that would be most impacted by the practice.

"No question, you're not supposed to trip someone, but I think this is an overreaction," Tasker told ESPNNewYork.com reporter Rich Cimini. "This isn't stealing signs or illegal taping or somebody sabotaging something. It was just a guy, reacting."

The NFL implemented the so-called Steve Tasker rule, a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to deter gunners from intentionally running out of bounds to avoid a press.

Dolphins safety Reshad Jones was flagged for the Tasker rule two punts before Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi stuck his knee into Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll, creating a firestorm of controversy.

"You think this is the first time [a trip] ever happened? Come on," Tasker said. "Guys were always giving me extra shoves. You don't want to see someone get hurt, but it's not a big deal. Why wouldn't you give a guy a forearm shiver? Everyone on the sideline is part of a team and they all want to win. Shoot, even the doctors are competitive.

"If [the Jets] are coached to do that, so what? Call a penalty on them. If a gunner is going to use the sideline as a weapon, like I did, why wouldn't you want to form a road block? There's nothing wrong with that as long as it's within the rules."