Antrel Rolle: Rules that protect receivers endanger defensive backs

Giants safety Antrel Rolle says the NFL’s rules that protect receivers from being hit when they’re defenseless are the reason he suffered a concussion on Sunday.

Rolle says that he suffered the concussion when he had to adjust on the fly as he was about to hit Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, concerned that he could incur a 15-yard penalty for hitting Bryant while Bryant was defenseless. According to Rolle, that adjustment left him off-balance, and he ended up tripping as he ran into teammate Corey Webster, ultimately resulting in Rolle falling head-first onto the turf.

“I was just worried about not giving them extra yards. But there’s no way around that,” Rolle told USA Today. “Does it suck for a defensive player? Yeah, it sucks. It definitely does suck. You can’t play a game the way you’ve been brought up how to play the game. We’re not trying to hurt anyone, but was I trying to detach him from the ball? Absolutely. Had he caught the ball, absolutely. I was there, I had perfect timing. I just couldn’t follow through with it.”

Rolle said that his desire not to take an illegal shot at Bryant led him to endanger himself.

“I definitely put myself in danger because it’s a split second where you have to make that decision,” Rolle said. “It’s not like I could make that decision on the ground because I was already airborne. So me twisting, turning and trying to get out of the way definitely put myself in harm’s way.”

The good news is that Rolle has been cleared to return from his concussion. The question is whether next time, Rolle will be so willing to pull up when he has a shot at a defenseless receiver.

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