It’s not easy being an NFL safety, these days.
With the NFL scurrying to make the game safer, the men who play that position are expected to deliver hits to the so-called strike zone, designed to cut down on blows to the head. But as the Texans’ D.J. Swearinger learned, going low carries risks of its own. In a preseason game with the Dolphins earlier this year, Swearinger hit tight end Dustin Keller low, tearing the veteran’s ACL, PCL and MCL and ending his season before it began.
“It’s definitely a tough situation that they put us in,” Barry Church said, per ESPN Dallas. “If you hit up high, you’re getting fined about $20,000. Nobody wants to lose that. If you hit too low, you’re jeopardizing somebody getting injured, so you’ve got to aim between the chest and the knee."
“But that’s hard. When you’re coming flying 100 miles per hour and they’re ducking their head as well, you don’t want to hit helmet to helmet with them, so you try to go even lower and you risk the injury. At the end of the day, it’s part of the game. If you’re playing inside the rules and you can’t hit high and you’re going low, I see no problem with it,” said Church.
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