Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan intends to lobby the NFL to implement rules to protect players on kickoff units from helmet-to-helmet hits when he attends the next league meeting, he said on Wednesday.
The coach’s decision comes on the heels of the concussion suffered by safety Reed Doughty, who sustained a helmet-to-helmet hit while on the front line of Washington’s kickoff return unit on Sunday.
The Bears lined up in regular kickoff formation, but attempted an onside kick as Robbie Gould sent a short dribbler toward the center of the field, near where Doughty stood. Chicago’s players charged toward the ball, and Sherrick McManis didn’t make a play on the ball, but instead launched himself directly into Doughty, drilling him in the side of the helmet with his own.
Doughty crumpled on the field and took a while to make it to the sideline after finally being helped up by trainers.
No flag was thrown.
The rules on helmet-to-helmet hits mostly are related to protecting defenseless receivers from defensive backs (see Meriweather, Brandon), and there are some limitations regarding hitting a quarterback in the head, and running backs leading with their helmets. But Shanahan said there needs to be a change to broaden the rule.
“I’m going to bring that up at the next meeting because that was one of the most vicious hits I’ve ever seen,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy get hit quite like that – at that speed at 10 yards and Reed just being completely helpless. I think that will be changed for the safety of the players, but that hasn’t been brought up yet. We all want players’ safety first, but there’s a lot that goes into it as we just talked about.”
Doughty was the second Redskins player this season to suffer a concussion on a kickoff. Against Dallas, cornerback David Amerson sustained a concussion on a helmet-t0-helmet blow from linebacker Cameron Lawrence on a blindside hit. Lawrence received a fine of $21,000.
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