The other day, we noted the NFL's directive on “non-standard” facemasks and specifically how it could apply to Ravens defensive lineman Chris Canty. Now Canty has said it's a matter of whether he continues to play football.
Canty wears the multi-barred, face-hiding, intimidating mask not to strike fear in opposing offensive lineman, but in order to protect himself from being poked in the eye, which can happen in the maelstrom of line play in the NFL. Canty suffered a detached retina right before he entered the NFL in 2005 – struck by a flying beer bottle as he was trying to get away from a bar brawl – and he found just using a large visor restricted his breathing.
So he turned to the non-standard mask.
"It's simple for me," Canty told The Baltimore Sun. "No eye shield and custom mask means I can't play. Eye would be at risk. I invented it. It's that simple. I can't play without it. I can't help it that other guys think it's cool and they want to wear it, too. It's a necessity for me."
Canty can apply to the league for permission to keep wearing the facemask. If the NFL says no, though, the Ravens apparently will find themselves without the veteran on their defensive line this season.