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Friday, October 22, 2010
Hard knocks: What they're saying

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After several helmet-to-helmet hits caused player injuries in Week 6, the NFL announced that certain illegal hits will start warranting game suspensions instead of fines. Here's reaction this week from players and coaches:

•  SPORTSNATION: Is the NFL too violent? How does it compare with 20 years ago?

Channing Crowder, Dolphins linebacker

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They want to save the receivers and quarterbacks because they sell all the jerseys. They don't give a damn at all about defensive players because we don't sell as many jerseys as them. … If they want to change football to a graceful sport, change it all the way to a graceful sport. Don't try to save the quarterbacks and receivers because they make the money, which that's what they're doing.


Alex Mack, Browns center

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A lot of the arguments right now are people are taught from Pee Wee football that this is how you play. Well, we need to change that. You can't be breaking your head. There are better ways to tackle. We're taught you're not supposed to spear with the top of your head.


Brian Urlacher, Bears linebacker

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If they can do this to us, then they need to get rid of the high-low blocks by offensive linemen. A blown-out knee can be a pretty serious injury, too. But concussions are the big deal in the NFL right now. So that's what they're going to emphasize.


Lawyer Milloy, Seahawks safety

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If I had a son right now that was playing football, I would definitely switch him over to offense because by the time he gets to the NFL, the offensive players won't even be able to get touched. That is a joke, but … I understand what they are trying to do with safety. You never want to see anybody getting carted off, and I don't think anybody has that intention. I don't play that way. But our game is such an instinctual game, sometimes you can't control it.


Michael Spurlock, Buccaneers receiver/return man

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I'm in favor of [the crackdown], but I still want it to be football. When I turn on my TV and watch a game, I don't want to see flag football.


Ryan Clark, Steelers safety

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Should I tweet him or text him before I tackle him [an opponent]?

•  Clark: It's tough on defensive players


Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach

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The players have a different awareness than they used to when I was in the league 10 years ago. They understand there's issues here and they've made the point, but the game is played at such a competitive level and there are violent moments in this game and sometimes there's just no avoiding them.


Joey Porter, Cardinals linebacker

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There's no more hitting hard. That's what our game is about. It's a gladiator sport. I mean, the whole excitement of people getting hit hard, big plays happening, stuff like that. Just watch -- the game is going to change.


Bradie James, Cowboys linebacker

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We're going to be playing flag football in five years.


T.J. Ward, Browns safety

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It's the game. You can't change something you've been taught and trained to do your whole life. You can't just change because they're giving out fines.

Ward, a rookie from Oregon, was fined $15,000 earlier this season for a nasty hit on Cincinnati's Jordan Shipley.


Donte Whitner, Bills safety

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The middle of the football field is supposed to be fast and dangerous. If you come across the middle of the football field, you're supposed to be hit and hit hard and know not to come around there again. That's why there's not a lot of guys can go there and make catches. That's why those guys get paid a lot of money. You take that out of the football game, then you got receivers running all through the football field without getting hit.


Stylez White, Buccaneers defensive end

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I understand what they're doing, but I don't care for it. You're trying to switch up how people hit. Well then, how about telling running backs not to run hard?


Sabby Piscitelli, Buccaneers safety

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We're not out there trying to kill people or hurt people. When we try to be violent, it's because we're trying to pop the ball out and get the ball back for our offense. That's the only reason I want to hit somebody as hard as I can. I'm not putting a blow on someone just to put a blow on somebody. You're trying to get the ball out, and you can't take that way from the game because that's what makes the game.


Andre Johnson, Texans wide receiver

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It's tough because the sport is violent. The guys are just out there playing and they just go and hit you. I don't think they are thinking about the helmet-to helmet contact. Guys are just out there playing.


Josh McDaniels, Broncos coach

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I don't think there's anybody that's out there coaching helmet-to-helmet hits. I sure know we're not, and I know that I don't believe in my heart that there is anybody out there trying to hurt other players.

Quotes from ESPN.com's NFL Blog Network and The Associated Press


•  SPORTSNATION: Is the NFL too violent? How does it compare with 20 years ago?