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NFLPA asks NFL to not outlaw controversial tackle, citing further confusion for players

SportsNFLPA asks NFL to not outlaw controversial tackle, citing further confusion for players


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The NFLPA does not want the league’s owners to vote in favor of penalizing the “hip-drop” tackle during the next week’s annual league meeting. The “hip-drop” tackle is one of six proposals that NFL owners will vote on next week. 

During last year’s league meeting, NFL executive Jeff Miller said that “hip-drop” tackles increase the rate of injury by 25%, which is why the league wants it outlawed. 

“While the NFLPA remains committed to improvements to our game with health and safety in mind, we cannot support a rule change that causes confusion for us as players, for coaches, for officials and especially, for fans,” the NFLPA said in a statement. “We call on the NFL, again, to reconsider implementing this rule.” 

Here’s what would warrant a 15-yard penalty regarding the use of a “hip-drop” tackle, according to the league’s competition committee

  • If the defender “grabs the runner with both hands or wraps the runner with both arms; and unweights himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s leg(s) at or below the knee.”

The “hip-drop” tackle became more prevalent after rules were put in place to protect against concussions. Defenders, instead of hitting high, have instead focused on making tackles by wrapping up players around the midsection. While concussions have declined over the past decade, lower extremity strains have become the most significant injury in the NFL in terms of time lost. The NFLPA will likely point to the fact that lower extremity injuries reached a four-year low in 2023. 

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was among the notable players who suffered a serious injury as a result of the “hip-drop” tackle in 2023. He missed Baltimore’s final six games after getting tackled by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson. Andrews said after the game that he didn’t have any thoughts regarding the tackle and whether or not it should be banned. His teammate at the time, Patrick Queen, railed against the tackle being outlawed. 

“I hate that Mark is hurt. Prayers for him,” Queen said. “But at the end of the day, we play football. We play a tackling sport. I don’t think a hip drop tackle is that bad of a thing. How else do you want us to tackle? Just let the guy run past you?”

Getting rid of the “hip-drop” tackle along with figuring out a way to improve kickoffs while not sacrificing safety appears to be the league’s priority this offseason. Any rule change requires at least 75% approval from the league’s owners. 





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