View Full Version : Donít Take the Physical Play out of Football

10-26-2010, 10:44 PM
Donít Take the Physical Play out of Football
Lawrence Timmions

I hate that people are giving James Harrison a bad rap right now. James is one of the nicest guys I know, and I canít stand the way heís being perceived.

I donít think James was out to hurt anyone against Cleveland. He was just playing football, and thatís how we do it. Itís a collision sport, youíre going to have collisions out there. A receiver might be 5-10, 165 pounds and run a 4.4 in the 40, but when he runs into James Harrison heís going to be hurting.

Defensive players are taught to have an aggressive persona. Guys getting hurt can be a sticky situation, but itís been going on since I first learned how to play football. Thatís the way the game is played.

I hope and pray that James doesnít retire. Heís a guy I look up to. You would think a guy who has been MVP and been to all those Pro Bowls all the time could just take it easy, but not this guy. He comes to work every day and he works hard every day. He takes nothing for granted. Heís in the gym constantly and always running extra sprints. He has an unbelievable work ethic and he loves the game.

I have nothing but good things to say about him. I want to be just like him on the field, heís the prototype of a great player.

On the Cribbs hit, he was getting tackled by LaMarr Woodley and James came across the top as Cribbs was going down. The way they talk about it in the media, you would think Cribbs was coming across the middle like a sitting duck and James lined him up. He was a moving target. James couldnít have hit him helmet to helmet if he had tried.

Massaquoi saw James coming and lowered his head. He was probably bracing for the hit and that might not have been the best thing for him to do. It was just a football play.

With the new rules, youíre going to see more neck injuries and more knee injuries. Guys will be afraid to come over the top or theyíll get suspended. Guys are going to go lower for tackles and theyíre going to have to lower their necks to cut guys. That could hurt both players, the defensive guy could tweak his neck and the offensive player could blow out his knee when he gets hit there at full speed.

Weíre always taught not to hit a guy in the knees, that itís a cheap shot. No one talks about headshots as a dirty play. I would rather have someone going for my chest, neck and head area than my knees.

You canít take the physical play out of football. I donít understand why anyone would want to.

Now the NFL is putting defensive players in a pickle. Things happen so fast out there you donít have time to think. That should be a factor when the league is deciding about fines and suspensions. Sometimes an offensive guy running full speed could run you over. If Massaquoi had stood up and run over James, that wouldnít have been a problem for anyone. I think theyíre setting new rules to make it easier for the offense, because they want to see more points in the board.

I donít see why all of a sudden this is such a big deal. Sometimes a guy gets his clock cleaned and gets a concussion. Growing up I saw it happen all the time. Football has been going on the same way for a long time, and all of a sudden everyone is making a big deal about it.

Iím scared to hit someone like I normally would. I could get fined $50,000 and miss a game. I canít do that, I have a family. Iím definitely going to try to hit guys low, thatís for sure.

And then they institute the rule over 2-3 days in the middle of the season and they just expect us to adjust? Weíve had no time to prepare for it. Itís just there all of a sudden and you have to obey it. The timing of it is ridiculous. This is the kind of thing they should introduce during training camp so we all have a chance to get used to it.

Only a certain amount of people can do this job. The physical nature of the game is what separates the real football players from the fake ones. Sometimes the bear gets you, sometimes you get the bear. Itís a tough manís game. Itís not two-hand touch. Sometimes, guys are going to get creamed out there. Itís happened to me plenty of times.

I accept it, because thatís football.

Lawrence Timmons is a linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His blog for www.playerpress.com runs at www.timmons94.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lawrencetimmons.

10-27-2010, 10:06 AM
Got a whole lot of nothing out of all that reading. Of course Timmons is going to defend Harrison and say how nice of a guy he is. As much as Harrison says he's not going to change the way he plays the game, he sure pulled up on a potential devestating hit last week and the team didn't suffer at all because of it. Goodell and his fines are getting out of control but this issue appears to be disappearing already.