Pro football is playing a dangerous game. The NFL continues to redesign the rules to further protect the safety of players, the latest being that the head can’t be lowered to make a tackle.

Well, well, well, what is a tackler to do?

The purpose of the rule is to continue the attack on concussions, one of the most often by-product of playing tackle football. Concussions lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has led to early deaths  by suicide by some famous players – Ray Easterling, Dave Duerson, Junior Seau, Andre Waters to name a few.

This rule immediately came under attack from players, most notably Richard Sherman. You remember him? The outspoken former cornerback for the Seahawks is now playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

In a USA Today story, Sherman had this to say: “It’s like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. It’s gonna lead to more lower-extremity injuries.”

Washington Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman, in the same story, said, “I don’t know how you’re going to play the game.”

I have been saying for some time what Norman just expressed. The game of football at the pro level especially has outgrown the rules. When I played the game as a young kid, I loved it. I loved the strategy involved. I loved trying to outthink the offense while playing defense and outthinking the defense while playing offense. It was exhilarating to make a big play. There were very few better feelings when you did that.

As I got older I marveled at how these guys with size could move so quickly and hit so hard. Then as I got even a little older, I realized there was a penalty to pay for playing like this, especially at the college and pro levels. You can’t take a 6-3, 240-pound linebacker and have him go at 4.7 40 speed and collide him with somebody 5-11, and 220 pounds that is running a 4.4 40 and think they won’t be consequences, if not immediately at least over time.

The dangers of the game might have been less 80 years ago when players didn’t have the advantages of putting on the pads at an early age (some at five), didn’t have the coaching they have now, didn’t have the training they do now, and the nutrition they have now.

Those same advantages, however, means players today are much more skilled, faster, stronger and more powerfully built. Better equipment, especially helmets, afford protection, but they also afford a player to have a better weapon (helmet) and a psychological boost because they begin to think all of it affords them a sort of invincibility.

But the true fact is  that being bigger, stronger and faster and more skilled still does not mean you are  exempt from  injury, especially to the legs, knees and most important the brain and spine.

The sport of pro football is like playing Russian roulette. You play long enough the bullet finds you. I can’t count the times I’ve heard a former football player talk about the many surgeries they have had to correct this or that. And the brain damage that can occur is life-threatening, as we have begun to find out with the former players who are now deceased because their brain gave them up.

I’m with some others who are starting to come out and say that football is headed for extinction. I majored in economics in college and there will come a point sometime in the future when the negatives of football will outweigh the benefits of football. You are already seeing some players – former Washington State safety Husain Abdullah, D’Brickashaw Ferguson of the Jets, Chris Borland of the 49ers ‑

retiring early from the game to avoid the permanent damage it can do to the body, especially the brain and then becoming vocal critics of the game.

You know ‑of course you do – that the world is powered by money. Nothing gets done without the input of money. The reason we have pro football is because of the money, plenty of it, that it generates. Players can make millions while owners of teams make billions. So as long as the positives of money outweigh the negatives of the human cost, the game will proceed. But at some point the money will dwindle because of the concern of the damage it does to the human body and the game will stop.

As for me, I hope just to be able to walk around without falling. Yes, I have gotten to the age where a fall can cause almost as much damage as getting hit by a 6-3, 240-pound linebacker going full speed.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.