HEADLINE

Falcons’ Freeman: New helmet rule is ‘not my rule’

The Sports Xchange

August 08, 2018 at 10:23 am.

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman appears to anticipate being penalized for his physical running style this season.

Freeman said as much when discussing the league’s new helmet rule with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I definitely think I’m going to get (that call) a couple of times this year,” the 5-foot-8, 209-pound Freeman said.

Several NFL players have spoken out against the new rule that prohibits lowering the helmet to initiate contact. Freeman, however, admitted that the new rule is a good idea, but there could be trouble given his low center of gravity.

“It’s going to be one of those things it’s hard to do something about,” Freeman said. “You know Devonta Freeman. You know how Devonta Freeman runs. You know how Devonta Freeman practices. You know my mindset.

“There’s only so much you can do about football and tackling and defenders and running the ball. I got to play low, that’s my advantage. That’s what makes me different, what makes me successful at what I do. Being low and having low center of gravity, that’s how I play. That’s the NFL rule, not my rule.”

After rushing for more than 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in both 2015 and 2016, Freeman finished with 865 yards and seven scores on the ground last season. He missed two games and most of a third due to a concussion.

The NFL released a fact sheet regarding the new helmet rule last week after several players admitted to being confused. The league implemented the new rule in late March.

Under the new directive, it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with the helmet on an opponent. The contact is not limited to an opponent’s head or neck area, as initiating contact to a player’s torso, hips and lower body is also an infraction.

According to the fact sheet, the penalties for a violation include a loss of 15 yards or ejection, which includes a set of standards. An ejection would be considered if a player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to initiating and making contact with the helmet, if he has an unobstructed path to his opponent or if contact clearly is avoidable and player delivering the blow had other options.

 

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