Antrel Rolle says more regulation of helmet hits is 'absolutely ridiculous'

The NFL is ready to crack down on dangerous helmet-to-helmet hits. But Antrel Rolle thinks that's "absolutely ridiculous."

Rolle, the Giants' 27-year old safety who has already amassed more than $30,000 in fines in his six-year career, said the NFL is already doing more than enough to protect offensive players during his weekly interview Monday afternoon on WFAN. Anything more, he said, will result in "a very, very tentative" game, which he obviously doesn't want.

"This is the game of football," Rolle said. "This is a game of speed. This is a game of power. This is a game of physical guys going to battle. Once you start 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 any circumstances you can't just absolutely have control over your body when you're pursuing a tackle."

The NFL obviously disagrees since, for the second straight day, NFL Vice President Ray Anderson spoke out on the epidemic of helmet-to-helmet hits that left several players with concussions and other injuries on Sunday. After reviewing the carnage, he promised again that suspensions and heftier fines are coming.

And, in an earlier interview on ESPN Radio, he made it clear that he's already heard the concerns Rolle expressed and he absolutely doesn't agree.

"We get the pushback all the time that, 'What's a defender to do?'" Anderson said. "Well, we, in these situations, have to say the defender has to adjust his target area. The player has to wrap up. He has to do the things more fundamentally that we used to do when we used to tackle back in the day. We would like them to do more of that."

Rolle, however, said that suspensions would be unfair because it would imply the dangerous hits were intentional when "A lot of times it's receivers or offensive guys that maybe are ducking their head or maybe they're running up high. Who's to say what? No one is at fault. Nothing's intentional.

"You suspend someone for doing wrong, or misbehavior, or things of that nature," Rolle added. "But now you're just suspending people for playing the game. And like I said, No one tries to hurt anyone, but sometimes in the game of football it's going to happen."

Rolle should know. The safety, who signed a five-year, $37 million contract with the Giants during the offseason was fined $7,500 this summer for "unnecessarily striking a defenseless receiver" when he illegally hit Ravens receiver Mark Clayton in a preseason game. Last season, when he was with the Cardinals, he got the same fine for a brutal, helmet-to-helmet shot on Giants tight end Kevin Boss. He also has a $12,500 fine for a facemask tackle in 2006 and a $5,000 fine for a horsecollar tackle in that same season on his resume.

Regardless of anyone's intent, though, Anderson made it clear that the NFL needs to be on the side of protecting players. 

"With the seriousness of the head and neck trauma and concussions generally," he said, "we've got a responsibility to just make sure that players understand and adapt."

"We will take all the criticism and all the backlash against those that say we are acting too aggressively in this regard," Anderson added. "We are not going to be apologetic. We are not going to be defensive about it. We are going to protect our players and hopefully players at the lower levels as well by example."

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