If you have been missing the brutal honesty of former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd, you got a gift this weekend as he spoke out against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his efforts to improve player safety while at a golf tournament in Cincinnati.
Lloyd said in an interview with WXIX-TV in Cincinnati via NFL.com, “This is not PBS, it\’s not the public channel that you go watch. It\’s the National Football League, it\’s a violent freaking game.” He also added, “The point of it is that if the NFL and the league would get behind and start taking care of their older players and taking care of guys, they wouldn\’t have these issues. As opposed to saying, \’Hey, go out there, do it hard, then bang we\’re done with you.\’”
Lloyd also let it be known that he is not a fan of how the league has turned into a passing league either during his interview and was quoted as saying, “I don\’t want to see a game where the damn score is 75 to one or 75 to two, all this passing and passing. I want to see somebody hit a quarterback, … that is what people come to see. And at the end of the day if he gets hurt, so be it.”
The comments made from the Steelers old school linebacker are not overly surprising and I am sure his sentiments are shared by several current Steelers defensive players as well such as linebacker James Harrison for starters. The timing of his comments might not be the best in light of the recent death of San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, who ended his life tragically just a few weeks ago. Seau likely suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by years of blows to his head and Lloyd, who played linebacker for the Steelers from 1988 to 1997, certainly should be able to relate to that.
The NFL is indeed a violent freaking game as Lloyd puts it and that is an element of the game that makes it so attractive to many. The problem is that as more and more is known about players like Seau, the more the NFL is facing the possibility of its own demise if they do not take better care of their players both during and after their careers. That is the main point that I think Lloyd was trying to make. I hate the way the game has changed myself, but understand why they are making the changes they are. I just wish they would become more consistent, especially when it comes to the penalties and fines handed out on the field.
As far as the league being a passing league now, that is thanks to the rule changes over the years that prevent defenders from even sneezing in the direction of wide receivers and tight ends. Physical cornerbacks do not have a prayer anymore, especially if a defense can\’t get pressure on a quarterback or bump him just a little late for fear of getting flagged or fined. The game is not played the way Lloyd played it and that is just something we all unfortunately have to accept now.