This play is just as dangerous as the horse collar
Raiders running back Kenyan Drake will reportedly miss the rest of the season, and he wants the NFL to do something to prevent injuries like his from happening again.
Drake was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against Washington when he was dragged down from behind by defensive tackle Daniel Wise. Wise slid under Drake’s body while pulling him backward, causing Drake’s lower leg to get caught under Wise. Drake had to be taken off the field on a cart and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported later that Drake broke his ankle and would miss the rest of the season.
Drake suffered a high ankle sprain on a similar play last season but missed only one game. He tweeted a video of the tackle after the game and urged the NFL to do something about tackles like Wise’s.
“The NFL needs to look at this specific style of tackling,” Drake wrote. “They are throwing flags for taunting and protecting [quarterbacks] from getting touched but this is my 2nd straight season being injured by a guy pulling me back and using his body weight to roll up my legs.
“If the emphasis is to protect the players this should be an illegal form of tackling like a horse collar. We lose players weekly to high ankle sprains and broken bones but the league would rather flag players for erroneous taunting penalties. Let’s get the priorities together.”
Saints running back Mark Ingram echoed Drake’s sentiment.
They’re right, of course. It’s disingenuous for the NFL to talk a big game about player safety and tweak the rules to protect quarterbacks and limit head-to-head contact while not also outlawing a play that is so obviously dangerous.
But Drake's calling for a change might be just what it takes for the league to do something about tackles like this. The NFL is usually pretty responsive to public pressure, especially when there’s an inciting incident that highlights the problem. When the Saints got screwed by a missed pass interference call against the Rams, the NFL experimented with making that a reviewable penalty. When Roy Williams broke Terrell Owens’s leg with a horse collar tackle in 2004, NFL owners voted to ban the move months later. Drake, a backup running back, is the sort of star player who would usually inspire a rule change, but his speaking out about roll-up tackles might be enough to get the NFL to consider a ban.
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