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Andy Russell worried NFL is ‘going to sissify the game’

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Ex-Steelers LB Andy Russell isn’t at a loss for words over the current direction of the NFL. He spoke on The Fan Morning Show Thursday about it.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn't take long for today's NFL fan to spot at least one difference between today's version of professional football and the one former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell played during the 1960s and 1970s.

Russell notices it too and it has him concerned.

He appeared on The Fan Morning Show Thursday to promote his Kick Hunger Challenge and the crew asked him a few questions, including one regarding the differences between that era and today.

"In those days, [Jack] Ham and I were trying to lose weight," Russell said in the interview, which can be heard in its entirety here. "We wanted to get down below 220 because we were covering wide receivers and rerouting them, which you're not allowed to do anymore. They don't let you play defense anymore. This game is- you can't do a thing. You can't touch anybody. It's really strange. I'm worried they're going to sissify the game."

Strong words, and a sentiment shared by many fans.

 

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger slaughtered the Colts.

The offensive explosion in the NFL is generally considered to have occurred during the 1980s when, along with other things, the Mel Blount Rule went into effect. Russell said the rule was credited to Blount, but it was something he, Ham and Jack Lambert did on every play.

"The kind of penalties they call now were something that Ham and I and [Jack] Lambert would do every single [play]," Russell said. "You could have your hands on the receiver- not holding him- but you could have your hands pushing... you could reroute them and not let them go where they wanted to go, and then the quarterback couldn't find them. They called it the Mel Blount rule, but it was really more the entire defenses doing that."