Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said he doesn't think the NFL will exist in 30 years because of the effects of violence in the game. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard — one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the NFL with a penchant for some violent, fine-inducing hits — doesn't think the NFL will exist in 30 years because of those hard hits.
Pollard told CBS Sports' Clark Judge that he doesn't see the NFL lasting another three decades because of player-safety concerns and the long-term effects of the physical toll of the game. Pollard also said that the way the NFL is going, he believes that there will be a death on the field in the future.
"Thirty years from now," Pollard said, "I don't think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It's just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going -- where they [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they're throwing flags and everything else -- there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it." [...]
"The league is trying to move in the right direction [with player safety]," he added, "but, at the same time, [coaches] want bigger, stronger and faster year in and year out. And that means you're going to keep getting big hits and concussions and blown-out knees. The only thing I'm waiting for ... and, Lord, I hope it doesn't happen ... is a guy dying on the field. We've had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it sucks.
"Like I said, I pray it never happens, but you've got guys who are 350 pounds running 4.5 and 4.4s, and these owners and coaches want scout-run blockers and linemen to move walls. At the same time, they tell you, 'Don't hit here, and don't hit there, or we'll take your money.' Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I just believe one day there's going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we're going."
Pollard's comments come just two days after he was fined for a vicious hit on New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker in the Ravens' AFC Championship game win last Sunday. He also knocked running back Stevan Ridley out of the game with a fourth-quarter hit, but he was not fined for that knock.
President Barack Obama said in an interview
published Sunday that he worried about the effects of the game, saying he would "have to think long and hard" about a son playing football.