Steelers safety Ryan Clark isn't one to hold back his tongue.
Holding back his shoulder is a different story.
The NFL has recently sent the missive through its PR machine low hits - such as the one delivered by Texans rookie D.J. Swearinger on Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller that put him out for the season - may end up drawing fines, much like their much higher-aimed counterparts.
Clark, a player who's been fined multiple times for high hits on players, was quoted by the Tribune Review recently in his outrage over the league's message.
"I'm disgusted," he said. "If an offensive player makes enough stink about something, they'll change it.
"You can't protect everything. You want to protect the head, you've done that. Now you have to let us play. Now if it's guys being hit low, that's just a part of it."
Looking at the idea of fining players for hits like Swearinger's in a vacuum and not in relation to high hits aimed at protecting receivers, it makes sense. Clark's reaction is understandable, but Swearinger's effort to make a tackle was weak, at best. It was lazy, shameful football, and it's understandable why the league would want to cut that out of its game.
Clark's reaction is based more in the bitterness of recent rule changes, and the sense of hypocrisy with which the league can be fairly labeled.
Still, Clark's point is a fair one:
"If they decide to change rule, they might as well put flags (on players) and start playing flag football," Clark told the Tribune Review. "Because then you give a guy like myself, who's 200 pounds, a two-foot area to stop a guy who's 240 pounds, 250 running at full speed and that's going to be kind of hard to do."
This all should have been expected, for the same reasons Clark mentions. Guys aren't going to get fined for going low on a player, so when in doubt, they're going to go low. If they're tackling properly, it shouldn't be a problem.
It's a matter of time until the low hits become the new "high hits" of the league.
Clark, and the rest of the NFL, have been warned.
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