Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell went off to the media Wednesday about the league fining players for hits.
He said the following in part (transcription via USA Today):
If a guy, if the ball is in the air and a man jumps or a man ducks his head, how do you want me to readjust my body? You cannot do it. At the end of the day this is foot-ball. If you want to see flag football then let’s take our pads off. That would make it easier for me because now I don’t got to wear heavy (expletive). But give us flags for me to pull off because that way I know what we’re playing. I signed up to play full-speed contact football and we’re not doing that. I feel like I got to ask a guy ‘Hey, are you ready for me to hit you right now before I hit you?’ And that’s crazy.
I’m going to mess around and get hurt trying to protect an offensive player because he’s running an over route. Damnit, your quarterback shouldn’t have threw that ball messed up. That happened two years ago. That’s — I’m not joking at all. Andy Dalton threw a ball to Tyler Eifert two years ago. Tyler Eifert had to dive for it. I was aiming for his gut, but if he don’t dive he don’t get hit in the head. That’s 50-grand out of my pocket though because Andy throws a bad ball. Make that make sense.
It doesn’t get much more direct than those comments, and I say good for Mitchell. I’ve always complained how defensive players get screwed when the ball carrier changes direction or moves at the last second, and then the defender hits him in the head. They always get in deep trouble, but they’re rarely aiming for the head. The ballcarrier, generally speaking, just dives into it.
Most players wouldn’t even think of speaking up like Mitchell did. Hopefully more do now.