View Full Version : New illegal hits rule not a hit with Steelers

08-01-2011, 12:03 AM
New illegal hits rule not a hit with Steelers
By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... rule_n.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/2011-07-31-new-illegal-hits-rule_n.htm)

LATROBE, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers knocked each other around in pads Sunday, the first time they had done so at this year's camp.

Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison was fined four times for illegal hits last season totaling $100,000.

Hard hitting has been a staple of their success for decades. For just as long, their physical play has drawn NFL scrutiny and inspired nicknames for several new rules.

This year is no different.

At a meeting in May, the league announced a new policy to subject teams (not just players) to fines for illegal hits. Team fines would follow a not-yet-specified series of flagrant hits. In the news media, it was dubbed the "Steelers Rule."

Last season's NFL crackdown on illegal hits resulted in four fines totaling $125,000 (later cut to $100,000) against Steelers linebacker James Harrison.

"We have been the team that's got a lot of the fines, especially James Harrison," Pittsburgh linebacker James Farrior said. "Hey man, the Steelers are known to be changing rules in the NFL. I remember back in the day they changed the bump-and-run rule for Mel Blount."

In the 1970s, the rule dubbed the Mel Blount Rule (in reference to the Hall of Fame cornerback) prohibited contact with receivers beyond 5 yards of the line. In 2009, the so-called Hines Ward Rule (named after the Pittsburgh wide receiver) banned blindside blocks with the helmet, forearm or shoulder to the head or neck of an opponent.

After the new collective bargaining agreement, the NFL and the players union will be putting together a policy for player discipline for the coming season.

"Hopefully we'll have definitive rules and guidelines, and it won't be so cloudy and everything will be able to be interpreted in a good way," Farrior said.

Last season, the NFL threatened suspensions, though no player was, for illegal hits.
Steelers moves

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been relatively quiet since the NFL’s labor resolution. As of Sunday evening, the team had brought in no free agents from other teams and had lost a few key players.

Additions: DE Cameron Heyward (No. 1 draft pick). Have signed no free agents from other teams.

Subtractions: T Flozell Adams, T Max Starks, WR Antwaan Randle El, NT Chris Hoke and TE Matt Spaeth.

Harrison on what he expects from the NFL this season when it comes to hits: "I don't know. That's why we play the season. Let it play out and see what happens."

Harrison has made clear his disapproval of the NFL policy and Commissioner Roger Goodell. When the Steelers Rule hit the news in May, he tweeted "the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots."

Harrison again apologized Friday for a magazine article in which he called Goodell a crook, a puppet and more. But he didn't retract his disapproval of the fines he received.

Now come possible fines against teams. At the May meeting, the NFL also didn't rule out possible forfeiture of draft picks.

Steelers President Art Rooney II would rather the rule not be labeled with his team's name, but he says he understands the intent.

"I think the league is trying to do the right thing," Rooney said. "We agree with the spirit of what's going on in terms of player safety. We'll just have to see how it plays out in terms of the actual implementation of all this. I would hope that some of these fines … are reserved for what I call flagrant situations. … It doesn't mean that's the way they're thinking about it, but that's the way I think it should be.''

At Steelers camp in the 1970s, under then-coach Chuck Noll, the first practice featured the Oklahoma drill with a blocker and a defender head-to-head between two blocking dummies. "Chuck felt it was a good way to set the tempo,'' Rooney said.

Those days are gone. The new CBA doesn't allow practice in pads until the fourth day of camp (including reporting day). That day came Sunday for the Steelers.

"There's no way to actually avoid big hits in football. There's no way you can take it away," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley, fined $12,500 last season for what was ruled a late hit on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

But in practice Sunday, linebackers coach Keith Butler told his players during a tackling drill, "Tackle with your shoulder. Do not tackle with your helmet."

Some big hitting came during a pass-blocking drill, backs against linebackers.

Coach Mike Tomlin shouted praise for rookie running back Baron Batch for his stout blocks, including a jolting collision with Harrison. "I like that, Batch," Tomlin said.

Asked later about the linebackers-vs.-backs hitting, Tomlin said, "Some licks were passed. … In some instances, we weren't violent enough. Some Day 1 type things."

08-01-2011, 12:06 AM
Dick Lebeau will continue to snub the league and tell his players to play the same just like James Harrison says.

08-01-2011, 01:55 AM
This whole issue gets me twisted, much more than the lockout did. It only hurts defensive minded teams like us and the rats. It helps the pretty boys like Marsha and Peyton.

I really wish the (non) union had held out for this issue.

Please go away goodell!

Discipline of Steel
08-01-2011, 07:10 AM
This whole issue gets me twisted, much more than the lockout did. It only hurts defensive minded teams like us and the rats. It helps the pretty boys like Marsha and Peyton.

I really wish the (non) union had held out for this issue.

Please go away goodell!

Im right behind you DJ...wheres the goodell sux icon?
Oh here it is...