|Rodney Harrison on The Big Show: NFL ‘trying to protect their butts’||06.12.12 at 8:48 pm ET|
NBC football analyst and former Patriot Rodney Harrison appeared on The Big Show on Tuesday and discussed his thoughts on concussions in the NFL. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page.
Harrison said that while he thinks the NFL is taking action to cut down on concussions to help the players, it is also doing its best to help itself in the public eye.
“Really what the NFL is doing is they’re trying to clean up the game,” Harrison said. “They know that they’re getting a lot of lawsuits with all of these different concussions and things of that sort and they are trying to protect not only the players, but they are trying to protect their butts because people are looking to sue them. Obviously with all these different guys lined up and filing these cases against the national football league it is very difficult right now for them.
“I think they are doing the right thing by cutting out all of these physical padded practices, these minicamps and things of that sort because if I played in the time when they would have cut all these back I could have played 20 years.”
Harrison went on to say that while it is on the NFL to help protect the players’ long-term health, the players themselves should understand the risk involved with playing in the NFL.
“I think [the NFL is] doing the best job they can, but we as players, we have to understand that if we hit a 250-, 300-pounder helmet to helmet, guess what? It’s going to hurt,” Harrison said. “There is a chance that you are going to have headaches, concussions. There is going to be physical damage, not just now but later on down the line when you get older. It’s the risk that you assume when you’re playing in the National Football League. You would have got to be a complete idiot not to sit back and understand that there are going to be repercussions running into a guy for a matter of three, four, five or 10 years. It is what it is. I’m not one of those guys.
“I have experienced headaches and I have experienced dizziness and these things, but I’m not trying to file a lawsuit because I pretty much knew that. Guess what? I play a pretty tough sport. And guess what? It hurts, and it’s painful, and you’re going to have headaches and there are going to be long-term consequences to everything that you’ve done. And that is all part of the game.”
Following the loss of former teammate Junior Seau over a month ago, Harrison supports even further counseling to the players to help prevent similar tragedies.
“I would say counseling before you come in, counseling while you are playing football and counseling on the way out,” Harrison said. “I think the NFL needs to do that. If you really want to take care of the players, you have to help these guys out. You have to help us out and talk to us and get us professional help, because it is a big different world out here.
“When I think about it, it really saddens me because [Seau] was a guy who gave everything of himself each and every day. Each and every day it was always about helping others. I never heard the man say no. He gave everything. He gave his money, his time, and it was just devastating because I felt like we lost such an incredible human being and it could have been avoided.”
Harrison also discussed his thoughts on the Saints’ bountygate scandal, saying that teams that have an intent to injure have gone too far.
“I think we go out there and we say, ‘Hey, let’s go out there, let’s play physical, let’s do this and let’s do that.’ But never have I ever been part of a defense or a team that ever had said, ‘OK, let’s go out there and knock his head off,’ as far as, ‘Let’s try to give him a concussion or let’s try to blow his ACL out,’ ” Harrison said. “I think that’s where things have gone too far. You can’t purposefully go out there and try to injure someone. You want to inflict pain. You want to be an intimidator. But you don’t want to end a guy’s career, and I think that’s where it has gone too far.”
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