The NFL has made multiple attempts to safeguard its players from brain trauma over the last few years, with the latest experiment being its new guardian caps being worn by all 32 teams in NFL training camp.
Most players have worn the caps for the Seattle Seahawks without much fuss or backlash.
However, that changed on Wednesday when defensive lineman Shelby Harris clarified his opinion on the new equipment.
“They’re stupid," Harris said. "I get what they’re trying to do, but the main thing is, you might have guys that start leading with their head more because they’re used to not feeling it, and don’t know they’re doing it because they have this big old helmet thing on. And then you get in the game, and next thing you know, they knock themselves out.”
According to NFL statistics, the intent is to minimize the high number of concussions that are sustained early on in training camp. The protective caps reduce the severity of impact if one player is wearing them by 10 percent and by 20 percent if two players have them equipped.
“I don’t know, I just don’t think this is necessarily the answer because of the fact that if you do get used to getting hit in the head with this, you wouldn’t even know," Harris said. "I honestly think that you will end up having more head-to-head blows because you’re used to having the helmet pad on. I get what they’re trying to do now, but I think later on it’s going to cause more of a problem.”
While players across the league grow accustomed to the caps, everyone can agree that taking steps to reduce concussions is important. Players will be encouraged but not required to wear the caps after the second preseason game.
Seahawks coach Pete Carrol was asked if Seattle would choose to wear them beyond the mandated time.
"We're going to take in all the information and follow the science there," Carroll said.
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