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Rolle rebuts new helmet-to-helmet punishments

In the geography of the Giants’ locker room, Antrel Rolle’s station is just a few paces across the floor from Kevin Boss’. On the subject of the NFL suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits, the two are much further apart. In fact, their takes are completely opposite from each other’s. As opposite as, well, offense and defense.

Yesterday Boss spoke about the need for suspensions, echoing the argument that noted sledgehammer Rodney Harrison made on NBC the previous night.

“I was watching the Sunday Night game and I like what Rodney Harrison had to say,” Boss said. “If that’s what needs to be done to help put with this type of deal we have going on, then I think the league needs to look into that.”

“Something needs to be done,” he later added. “It’s getting kind of out of hand.”

Mr. Rolle, your argument?

“I don’t agree,” the Giants’ safety said of the new punishments, effective immediately, that the NFL will impose on helmet-to-helmet hits (he said it on his weekly but belated spot on WFAN today). “I’ve had a couple head-to-head shots and under no circumstances have I ever intentionally went for someone’s head nor do I think any player intentionally goes for someone’s head. Obviously I’ve been listening to these guys commentating about it and I just don’t agree with that.

“This is the game of football. This is a game of speed. This is a game of power. This is a game of physical guys going into battle. Once you start that, saying to guys ‘You’ll get suspended for a game,’ that’s when you’re going to get a very, very tentative football game.

“And you know, it’s fine for the offensive players but I’m on the defensive side of the ball. So are you telling me that now I have to slow down? I think we’re already being cautious of what we’re doing and how we’re attacking the ball or how we’re trying to make a tackle. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous because under no circumstances can you just absolutely have control over your body when you’re pursuing a tackle.

“A lot of times, receivers, maybe they’re ducking their head or maybe they’re running up high. Who’s to say what? No one’s at fault. But nothing’s intentional. You suspend doing someone for doing wrong or misbehavior or detriment to team conduct. Now you’re suspending someone for playing the game. No one tries to hurt anyone, but sometimes in the game of football it’s going to happen.”

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Rolle and Boss have, um, butted heads. Rolle was fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Boss last year when he was playing for the Cardinals. It was $7,500 of the $30,000 in career fines that Rolle has been hit with.

And as for Rodney Harrison? Well, I can’t help but wonder if the suspension that he said made him less likely to lead with his head helped the Giants win a Super Bowl. A more aggressive hit on David Tyree and perhaps a lot of things change.



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