Matt Forté, the Chicago Bears' star running back, is the latest professional football player to voice his opposition to the proposed helmet rule change that would prohibit offensive players from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with defensive players.
"The proposed rule change for running backs might be the most absurd suggestion of a rule change I've ever heard of," Forté tweeted Sunday morning. "In order to lower ur shoulder u obviously have to lower ur head. It's a way of protecting ur self from a tackler and a way to break tackles."
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Defensive players are already prohibited from using the helmet move
due to safety concerns, according to ESPN. However, offensive players and running backs in particular, who have been trained to protect themselves from tacklers with such a move, would have a hard time adjusting if the rule was put in place, Forté said.
"U can't change the instinctive nature of running the football," tweeted Forté, the fourth leading rusher in the Bears' history.
The rule change was one of several the National Football League Competition Committee proposed last Thursday during a conference call for the NFL's annual meeting, which began Sunday in Phoenix, Ariz.
During an interview with The Associated Press last week, NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said player safety is the sole reason behind the proposed rule change.
"This is pure and simple a player safety rule," McKay said. "The time has come we need to address the situation. You can't duck your head and deliver a forcible blow with your helmet. We're looking for the obvious fouls on this one. We realize this is a major change for players and coaches."
Forté's comments on Sunday echoed those of the league’s all-time leading rusher, Hall of Fame Running Back Emmitt Smith, who told Dallas' sports radio station The Fan last Thursday that it would be "almost impossible" for running backs to obey the helmet rule
"As a running back, it’s almost impossible (to not lower your head)," the Dallas Cowboys legend said. "The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads. That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless."
Smith said those who came up with the rule are disconnected from the sport.
"It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football," he said.
Throughout March, team owners will vote on proposals the league put forth at the NFL's annual meeting.
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