NFL rule changes means players without knee, thigh pads won’t play

Larry Fitzgerald isn't worried about the new rule about knee and thigh pads. (Ross Franklin / AP)

Larry Fitzgerald isn’t worried about the new rule about knee and thigh pads. (Ross Franklin / AP)

The NFL is serious about getting players to wear knee and thigh pads, so serious that players who don’t wear them will be removed from games this year.

They’ll be allowed to return — as soon as they’ve put on the proper pads — according to a rule approved in 2012 but not enforced last season.

“…No player wants to miss time on game day,” Merton Hanks, the NFL’s vice-president of football operations, told Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “Can you imagine having a player that you’ve designed a play for not in the game because he’s chosen not to adhere to the padding options that every other player has to adhere to?”

A lot of players, particularly receivers and defensive backs, hate the idea of leg pads, but Larry Fitzgerald, the Arizona Cardinals’ stellar receiver, says players will adapt.

“I didn’t always wear them, but I would take thigh contusions or hip pointers or knee bruises, and I just started wearing them to protect those injuries,” Fitzgerald said. “This is all about adjustments. They change the rule, we find the way to adjust and continue to go on.”

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