Morris says NFL’s new crown-of-the-helmet rule not a concern for him

August 24, 2013

Alfred Morris. (Tom Gannam/The Associated Press)

Washington Redskins tailback Alfred Morris says he isn’t among the NFL running backs with concerns about the league’s new rule prohibiting a ball carrier from lowering his head to strike a defender in some instances.

“I don’t use my head anyway,” Morris said this week. “That’s dangerous. It won’t affect me at all. I don’t lower my head when I’m contacting defenders. I lower my shoulder. It might be a thin line, like a judgment call, if you ask me. It’s a thin line between what’s lowering your shoulder and what’s lowering your head. But the way they stated the rule how you have to first line him up, then you have to lower your head and deliver a blow — it’s understandable. I’ve never done that before. So I’m not worried at all.”

Morris, a rugged runner who set a team rushing record last season as a rookie, said the new rule hasn’t been on his mind when he has taken the field during the preseason.

“Not at all,” he said. “I went out there against the Steelers [in a preseason game Monday night] and played like I normally play. I didn’t think about it once.”

There was some controversy when the rule was enacted during the offseason. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte was a particularly vocal critic, and others expressed reservations as well. They said the rule could prevent a running back from being able to protect himself. NFL officials said the rule is a needed safety measure that comes up only on rare occasions. Under the rule, a ball carrier can be penalized under certain circumstances for using the crown of his helmet to strike a defensive player forcibly.

“I don’t know who said what or none of that,” Morris said. “I didn’t pay attention to that at all. I was enjoying my time away from football. I was just recovering so I can come back and have some more fun. I can understand if a guy runs a certain type of way how they can be upset about it. But at the same time, the game has been changing since the beginning. So you have to adapt and roll with the punches that they throw at us. They change this. They change that. You can adjust and keep playing, or stop playing. It’s your choice.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● Saturday’s game against the Bills is at 4:30 p.m.

More on the Redskins:

Redskins get creative with pass rush to help fix inconsisent defense

Cap situation remains tight for Redskins | Five story lines to follow vs. Bills

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Griffin, Fletcher and Forbath earn team honors

Wise: Fletcher is a good man in a mad culture

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Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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