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Thursday, March 21, 2013
RB: Some calling it 'T-Rich rule'

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Trent Richardson told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer on Wednesday that he feels like it's his fault that running backs will now be penalized for using the crown of their helmets to make forcible contact with a defender outside the tackle box.

Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson knocked Kurt Coleman's helmet off with this violent hit last season, which the NFL used as an example of plays it wanted to penalize starting next season.

A video of Richardson knocking off Eagles safety Kurt Coleman's helmet was used as an example of plays the league wanted to penalize during the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. The rule change passed 31-1, with the Cincinnati Bengals the only team to vote against it.

"I feel like I made it bad for all the backs," Richardson told the newspaper. "I feel like it's my fault."

He said people are starting to name the rule after him.

"People keep telling me it's the T-Rich rule," he said. "I guess I made history today."

Steelers president Art Rooney used another Browns running back, Hall of Famer Jim Brown, to explain his reasoning to accept the change.

"Jim Brown never lowered his head," Rooney said with a smile. "It can be done."

Earlier this week, Brown said he was in favor of the rule change.

"I didn't use my head," Brown told Newsday from the owners meetings. "I used my forearm. The palm of my hand. And my shoulder. And my shoulder pads. I wasn't putting my head into too much of anything.

"I don't think that's a good idea. At least it doesn't sound like a good idea to me if I'm not guaranteed that my head is going to be strong enough to hurt somebody else and not hurt myself."

On Thursday Brown said in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia that he didn't think Richardson's hit on Coleman was a bad play.

"I'll tell you, I wouldn't criticize him for it because it wasn't, to me, a dirty play. He was being attacked so he just attacked. Being a fellow that is not too tall, your shoulders and your head can get pretty low. Basically what the two players are trying to do is get lower than the other," he said.

The new penalty will be 15 yards from the spot of the foul, and if the offensive and defensive players both lower their heads and use the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.

The owners discussed using fines on ball carriers to eliminate the tactic but instead voted to make the rule change.

"I know why they did it, but I won't say that I fully agree with it," Richardson told The Plain Dealer. "I'm not saying it's a dumb rule, but the backs are all talking about it and it's kind of hard on us."

Richardson said he'll be aware of the rule next season when he's playing, but he's not going to change his violent style of play.

"I'll still play me. I'll still play the way I play. ... I'm going to try to be as safe as I can, but I'm going to protect myself first," he told the newspaper. "I know there are a lot of runners that feel the way I feel."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.