Brian Orakpo calls NFL’s ban on customized face masks ‘disheartening’


Brian Orakpo wears his fancy facemask during training camp. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND — Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo said Monday he finds it “disheartening” that the league will not permit him to wear a customized face mask on his helmet during games.

Orakpo confirmed that he and other NFL players had been informed by the league they cannot wear such “grill-style” face masks.

“I have to make a switch just for the time being, after all that work,” Orakpo said at the Redskins’ training camp. “But, you know, the league is funny about trying to alter stuff. We’re still trying to fight it. But they obviously denied everybody. You had a lot of guys –myself, [Robert] Mathis, Darnell Dockett. There’s a lot of guys that got denied. It was pretty disheartening. But I’ll be all right.”

Orakpo, the Indianapolis Colts’ Mathis, the Arizona Cardinals’ Dockett, the New York Giants’ Justin Tuck and the Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware are among the players who have tried the new face masks. The league reportedly will allow players to wear such non-standard face masks if they have a medical reason for doing so. Tuck and the Baltimore Ravens’ Chris Canty reportedly have received medical clearance to wear their non-standard versions.

Related: D.C. Sports Bog on the facemask ban

“I don’t know,” Orakpo said. “It’s kind of tough. Obviously it’s different. And it does have a sort of look appeal to it. But it’s also for protection as well. We’re supposed to be all about protection and we get denied for something that benefits us. It’s something that’s kind of disheartening.”

Orakpo said he hasn’t given up yet on attempting to appeal the decision.

“Hopefully we can,” he said. “We’re obviously in the process right now of trying to get it cleared again. But right now we’re denied so we just have to go with what they say.”

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:

● Today’s second practice is at 3:20 p.m. Tuesday’s schedule has been modified, with a 10 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. workout sandwiched around an 11:30 “special announcement.” If you’re headed to Richmond, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @D3Keith @Insider | @PostSports

More NFL and Redskins:

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Redskins change this week’s practice schedule

Griffin doesn’t ‘like’ Shanahan’s plan, but says he trusts his coach

D.C. Sports Bog: Cooley could have expanded game-day role | More Bog

Hamilton: The NFL’s preseason is too long, and it’s time to fix it

The Early Lead: Giants apologize to Jones for banana incident More NFL | News

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.

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Mike Jones · August 12, 2013

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