Ray Lewis suggested the NFL should turn into flag football. Mike Mitchell went off on Roger Goodell and the rules in place. Shannon Sharpe suggested the NFL is a lost cause.
I could go on, but you get the picture. The one aspect of all this talk which has been absent, is an offensive player’s voice. Mike Mitchell was joined by other defenders who supported his message of football being physical, and players knowing what they signed up for, in regards to potential injury every time they step in between the white lines.
Well, on Friday, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown took to Twitter and gave his take on the debate regarding the physicality of the game of football.
Football is a war game you think these guys tackling me nice they trying to kill me and that’s what makes the game ! We brought up on the bull in the ring it’s apart of the game #Truth— Antonio Brown (@AB84) December 8, 2017
It was a unique take on the game, and one which hasn’t been heard much. You hear defenders complaining about the hitting zone and what they can and cannot do, but what about the players getting hit? Rarely do you hear much from them pertaining to such discussions.
Nonetheless, Brown speaks up talking about how he understands opponents are trying to “kill me”, but admits it is part of the game. The “bull in the ring” defines football for a man like Brown.
Throughout his career, Brown has taken his share of hits, the most recent being the head shot by George Iloka during the aforementioned Monday night contest, but when you read Brown’s comments, you understand there are some offensive players who know they can get hit — and they’re okay with it.
It isn’t like Brown is hoping to be concussed again, as he was in the 2015 AFC Wild Card game against the Bengals. But he also understands if he goes over the middle of the field, there’s a chance he gets hit, and hit hard.
The NFL has its issues, and this is just one of many. But if the league wants to change the public’s perception of the sport, it also should look inside its own ranks and evaluate how the players perceive the sport. After the mayhem of Monday night subsided, it’s clear the majority of the players who’ve made it to the professional ranks, understand what’s at risk whenever they strap on their helmets to play.