NFL to consider adding college-style targeting rule
Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) lies on the field after an apparent injury in the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
The NFL will give consideration during the offseason to adding a college-style targeting rule, according to The Washington Post.
If the rule is enacted, officials could review penalties and eject players for targeting a defenseless opponent above the shoulders or for using the crown of their helmets to tackle an opponent. The NCAA implemented a targeting rule prior to the 2013 season.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said during a conference call Wednesday afternoon that it’s “something we have to consider.”
“It’s clean,” he said. “It is a deterrent.”
The league approved a rule before this season that players should be ejected or suspended for egregious illegal hits. Nine suspensions have been handed out my NFL, Vincent said Wednesday per The Washington Post.
The NFL issued three suspensions this week. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski were each suspended one game. Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka was originally suspended one game, but won his appeal on Wednesday.
“I think it’s working,” Vincent said. “[For] things that shouldn’t be part of our game, players are being removed.”
Asked about the potential rule change on Wednesday, Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward had a concise response: “Stupid.”
“Guys aren’t trying to hurt anybody,” Heyward said. “I know JuJu didn’t deliberately trying to hurt him. It was a big play. He thought he was just doing his job and doing it well.
“Obviously, you shouldn’t stand over anybody, but he was already apologetic during the play. He’s saying, ‘I’m sorry, guys. I let you guys down.’ Obviously, we still converted. But, isn’t that enough?”