To no surprise Steelers linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have both voiced their displeasures with the latest rule changes passed on Tuesday by a 32-0 vote that includes not only punishing the players, but the teams as well. Harrison was the first to make his feelings known on Tuesday when he tweeted that “the people making the rules at the NFL are idiots.” Not long after that, Woodley tweeted: “Thoughts on \’the steelers rule\’??? lol I\’m sorry that I\’m not sorry we hit 2 hard.”
On Wednesday Woodley took to SiriusXM NFL Radio to further voice his displeasure. “Football is turning soft now,” Woodley said. “Too many fines. Too many penalties protecting the quarterback every single play. Defensive guys can\’t be defensive guys no more. I mean, that\’s what Pittsburgh, that\’s what we\’re built on … playing aggressive football, attacking, hitting people hard, you know, making quarterback\’s shake. … You can\’t even touch them.”
NFL vice president Adolpho Birch said Tuesday after the new rules were announced that excessive flagrant hits could cost teams draft picks as well and that teams need to have more accountability in regards to reeling in their players.
Warren Sapp chimed in with his thoughts on NFL Total Access Wednesday evening and said that Harrison and Woodley both need to get on the train with these rules or be left behind. He said players need to take care of each other and that both need to get on board with what the league wants. Jamie Dukes followed the remarks of Sapp and referred to the Woodley tweets and radio interview as backing up the insane guy (Harrison) who just wants to hurt and maim everybody. Both continued on to say both need to hit the new strike zone, but both agreed that sometimes things happen and players bend down before collisions.
[flv:http://ll.video.nfl.com/films/s2011/nfl-total-access/offseason/110525_nfln_nflta_harrison_on_new_rules_700k.mp4 480 368]
The Dukes remarks about Harrison wanting to hurt and maim everybody are just wrong. Harrison is not purposefully trying to hurt and maim other players; he is trying to play the game the only way he knows how. The Steelers defense, as Woodley said today in the Sirius interview, has a long tradition of being aggressive. Aggressiveness and intimidation has always been part of the game and it is sad to see the Steelers being used once again as a scapegoat. Dukes was way off base with his remarks about Harrison and should apologize for them although I bet Harrison could give two shits about what he says or thinks.