Ray Rice still wants to lower the boom

Ray Rice still wants to lower the boom
March 31, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Ray Rice wants to play defense. No, the Ravens running back isn’t requesting a switch to the other side of the ball, but he was reacting to the NFL’s new mandate on the use of the helmet, which applies to offensive and defensive players.

“I don’t like it,” Rice told BaltimoreRavens.com. “I’m just telling you right now, there’s not going to be a guy that’s going to be able to get a free lick on me and think it’s all right. I will defend my case, and I will defend myself as a runner.”

Here’s how ESPN.com summarized the new rule: “It will now be a 15-yard penalty if a player who is more than 3 yards downfield or outside of the tackle box delivers a blow with the crown of his helmet. If the offensive and defensive player each lowers his head and uses the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.”

To Rice, the league is trying to legislate against the normal actions of a running back.

“If I’m in the open field and you’re coming at me and I’m coming at you, and I lower my shoulder and I get flagged, I’ll appeal it,” Rice said. “You’re going to protect yourself as a runner. Not one running back, you ask anyone in the league, not one is going to change their game. People are just going to have to deal with the consequences the first couple years.”

Rice or another runner who lowers his shoulder to deliver a blow to a would-be tackler shouldn’t be penalized under this rule. But Rice obviously feels the league is targeting hard-running backs. The NFL’s hierarchy doesn’t see it that way.

Steelers owner Art Rooney said, via ESPN.com: “Jim Brown never lowered his head. It can be done."