Trent Richardson, the Cleveland Browns running back who plows head-first into defenders, said he is to blame for the NFL owners voting on Wednesday 31-1 in favor of a controversial new crown-of-the-helmet rule.
Richardson took the position because the NFL’s competition committee showed owners his explosive helmet-to-helmet hit with Philadelphia Eagles’ Kurt Coleman last season, which knocked off Coleman’s helmet.
“I feel like I made it bad for all the backs,” Richardson told The Plain Dealer. “I feel like it’s my fault. . . People keep telling me it’s the T-Rich rule. I guess I made history today.”
“That hit made me a hero with Browns fans, but that was just playing football,” Richardson said. “That hit made history right there, and it was big.”
But Richardson maintains that he did not lower his head intentionally and said that it just came natural as a product of his football instincts.
However, that type of play starting next season will welcome a 15-yard penalty and a heavy fine from the NFL. If both the offensive and defensive players lower their heads and use the crown of the helmet to make contact, each will be penalized.
Bears running back Matt Forte and other NFL running backs had an issue with the idea of the rule being changed when it surfaced through media reports at the owners meetings. Running backs feel it is the only way that they can protect themselves without getting hurt.
Steelers president Art Rooney referenced Hall of Famer running back Jim Brown to explain his favor of the rule change. He said that Brown never had to lower his head.
Brown said earlier in the week that he was in favor of the rule change.
“I didn’t use my head,” Brown told Newsday at the league’s owners meeting in Phoenix. “I used my forearm. The palm of my hand. And my shoulder. And my shoulder pads. I wasn’t putting my head into too much of anything. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Richardson said he will continue to aggressive style of play, while also as safe as possible while protecting himself first.
“Most likely I’m going to be the one getting all the fines and all the penalties, because I just know I just can’t change the way I play the game,” Richardson said. “I’ll still play me. . . I know there are a lot of runners that feel the way I feel.”