DETROIT - FEBRUARY 4: Quarterback Troy Aikman speaks during a press conference after being elected to the NFL Hall of Fame February 4, 2006 at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Troy Aikman, who, along with San Francisco counterpart Steve Young, accounted for somewhere around 214 concussions between 1989 and 2000, was on ESPN's Pardon The Interruption on Thursday to discuss the state of the NFL, particularly the rapidly evolving policies concerning player safety. (Thanks to PFT for the find).
While Aikman understands the importance of this aspect of the game, he believes that the league has gone too far in sheltering quarterbacks on the field (we're looking at you Tom Brady).
"I think that it's good that there is this attention to it, and I like that the NFL is stepping out and trying to find ways to keep these injuries from occurring -- I think that's all positive," Aikman said today on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. "But the game of football is very violent. And I'm one of those, as a former quarterback, who has felt that maybe the rules have gotten a little bit too far already in terms of protecting quarterbacks."
The Hall of Famer, though critical of the on-field measures, lended his vocal support to the new policy concerning players returning from a concussion, saying "It makes perfect sense to me. I think it's probably something that should have been in place long ago and I applaud the steps the NFL has taken for player safety."
Aikman, of course, may as well have been speaking on his own career, the end of which seemed to coincide with the beginning of the end for the "tape it up and get out there" era of professional football. But this issue, Aikman says, may quickly present a slippery slope for the league and its players.
"At some point I think players have to understand that there are certain risks that are involved and if you decide that you want to go out and play football then you've got to understand that part of that means you're going to break some bones and you may have some head injuries," Aikman said. "But if you try to eliminate all of those things then we're no longer playing football."